When mega-producer Kevin Shirley calls you “the best British band since… Led Zeppelin“, you’ve got a lot to live up to. Granted, Shirley produced the aptly named Inglorious II and may be a little biased, but after producing Joe Bonamassa and Iron Maiden, he’s got a pretty good perspective. Last year fellow Decibel Geek writer Adam Cox introduced us to Inglorious, and I promptly added it to my top 10 for 2016. Now, just 15 months later, they went right back to the well to bring some of the best rock of 2017 so far.
Nathan James, who has participated in a number of British reality performance shows and toured with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, has a voice that puts him on par with anyone. He got the original band back together – Andreas Eriksson on lead guitar, Phil Beaver on drums, Colin Parkinson on bass and Drew Lowe on rhythm guitar (who didn’t tour with them in between albums) – and has put together another stunning mix of blues, hard rock, and soul. The slow-chugging opener “I Don’t Need Your Loving” clearly shows their Whitesnake influence and leads into a real rocker with a Hagar-esque riff on “Taking the Blame”, including a couple of James‘ screams that eerily sound like Bruce Dickinson.
“Tell Me Why” starts off with a little AOR sound and a nice riff, into a straight-forward blues rock tune. “Read All About It” is a cool little Zeppelin-y riff, matched by a keyboard, into another smooth rocker – James‘ voice goes changing again to match the mood. The blues rock continues on the harder-edged “Change is Coming” (don’t let the quiet intro lull you) and the slower “Making Me Pay.”
The band pick up the pace leading into a great 4-song set, starting with, “Hell or High Water,” including a great solo by Eriksson. This leads into my favorite track, “No Good For You,” which David Coverdale wishes he wrote. The harmonies and twin guitar sounds really flesh out this song and give it a lot of depth. I love, too, the intro to “I Got a Feeling,” with the quiet verses, real hard rock chorus and another terrific guitar solo. There’s even some swingin’ hard rock in “Black Magic.”
The album finishes up with their “epics” (because they’re each about 4 1/2 minutes long!). A long quiet intro takes us “Faraway,” where James can showcase his voice again, this time reminding me of Paul Rodgers in his prime. Then the song breaks into a loud chorus and guitar solo all the way through to the great outro. The final song, “High Class Woman,” starts with a quick cymbal tap and a single guitar, building to a crescendo. It has a slightly different feel with strong harmony parts until the chorus, and ends, fittingly, with a scream.
Decibel Geek was there when they played the Monsters of Rock cruise earlier this year (get your pics here). James says he wants to be playing arenas someday, taking over the mantle from bands like Metallica and Maiden. If they keep this up, they’ll have plenty of fans to fill those arenas. In the meantime, pick up the album (or both!) at the Decibel Geek Amazon link on the homepage, and get out and see them while they’re touring the festival circuit in Europe this summer!
Dave Glynn: Twitter