Frontiers Records [Release Date 12.02.21]
It has been a rocky road for Inglorious since they burst onto the scene as one of the great hopes of classic rock. For a while their huge potential, not least in the powerful vocals of charismatic Nathan James, was held back by some rather average songwriting.
Then their third album ‘Ride To Nowhere’, which attempted to break the mould somewhat, was overshadowed by the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ that saw three of the band members who recorded the album depart in a single day. Despite some successful tours pre-Covid, in many people’s eyes they still have it all to prove and back up Nathan’s hyper-confident persona.
Their fourth album- with a title oddly close to its predecessor- sees several changes. Not only have new members, guitarists Danny DelaCruz and Dan Stevens and bassist Vinnie Colla made their studio debuts, but they have enlisted renowned producer Romesh Gogandoda who has made his name with heavier bands, and the sound moves even further away from the retro bluesy rock of their first two albums.
Album opener and lead off single ‘She Won’t Let You Go’ is an absolute corker, with one of the biggest riffs I have heard in ages, classic but with a more modern twist and more layers and variety in the song compared to their previous work. ‘Messiah’ is the first true sign of a new approach with a very modern verse including vocal effects which comes as a bit of a shock – though reassuringly Nathan soars into his trademark roar on the chorus backed by a dark and heavy riff.
‘Medusa’ is much closer to the classic rock influences of the old Inglorious with opening slide guitar work worthy of Micky Moody and a chorus which, not only in its title, reminded me a little of Glenn Hughes, but this is very much the exception. ‘Eye Of The Storm’ takes some of Ride to Nowhere’s attempts at a broader sound a stage further, switching between quiet verses that show off Nathan’s soulful voice and a more up tempo chorus with a strong hook.
For the rest of the album, the closest comparison is probably to Alter Bridge, dark and intense and yet melodic, notably on ‘Cruel Intentions’, not immediate but a grower with a fine guitar solo, and ‘We Will Meet Again’, especially with its lyrical message. ‘My Misery’ goes a stage further with another dark riff and Nathan echoing the anguished tones of Myles Kennedy and to a greater extent on this one, Chris Cornell.
The second half of the album does suffer with less variety than the first few songs, while ‘Do You Like It’ is a little ploddy. However ‘He Will Provide’ is a tantalising mix of more dark riffage with Dio-era Rainbow imagery and a solo worthy of Blackmore, presumably from Danny DelaCruz; and ‘God of War’ boasts a distorted vocal intro but a classic riff underpinning a more traditional chorus, before the title track ends the album with another heavily brooding riff and slow burning hook.
It may not be enough to silence the critics, and may even alienate a few old-school fans. However, helped by a quite superb production, Inglorious have successfully embraced a more contemporary sound and this is perhaps their most impressive work to date. **** 1/4
Review by Andy Nathan
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