Inglorious‘ self-titled debut album really impressed me – they were my number 3 pick in 2016 – and the follow-up last year was almost as good. With Ride to Nowhere though, they take it to the next level. The songwriting is sharp, the riffs are strong, the choruses are catchy and lead singer Nathan James has his voice at octaves not heard too often. And then it all fell apart. But first, the album.
The music was written mostly together in one room on acoustic guitars and then James went away and wrote very personal lyrics focused on loss (he lost both his grandfather and one of his best friends in 2018) and anger. To match the songwriting, this time around producer Kevin Shirley gave it a different sound – heavier and more produced, but sonically much stronger.
The first track “Where Are You Now” kicks off the album with a straight hard rock groove and one of those catchy choruses – it could be the next single. “Freak Show” follows that with a twangy guitar intro, a strong bass line and a swinging chorus. Two songs in – so far so good. We hit the first ballad on track 3 “Never Alone”, leading off with an acoustic intro, which builds into more of a power ballad with particularly good guitar fills. The album continues on with two more great tracks, the soulful “Tomorrow” and the more complicated “Queen”, which has a really great bass line. Next up is “Liar” with a loud intro and more of a new rock sound, but could fit on one of Slash‘s albums. “Time to Go” is more of a mid-tempo country rock tune that you just want to sing along to. Then we get to the highlights of the album.
The first single “I Don’t Know You” is one of those familiar songs that you think maybe you’ve heard before, but you don’t remember being this good. Its bluesy sound, the strong build up to the chorus and James‘ vocals just blow this song up. The guitar work, mostly in the background, but with a short solo, just adds to the quality of this track. The blues continue in the slow burn track “While She Sleeps”, which has the best solo on the album. The trifecta completes with the brilliant title track, “Ride to Nowhere”. The swinging heavy riff complemented by the heavy drums all lead up to another sing-along chorus. This track is the longest at about 6 minutes, but the song doesn’t feel like it’s too long or plodding. It’s got a nice breakdown in the middle to break up the heaviness. In my opinion, it might be the best song they ever wrote. The final track “The Glory Days” is an impassioned reminiscence in the form of the second ballad, which gives James a chance to showcase his voice. Far from a throwaway, it’s a perfect contrast to the bombast that came before it.
Overall, the album is very strong, a top 10 contender for 2019 (already!) and a much-improved effort over an already pretty good sophomore album. They have played on tours with The Winery Dogs, the Dead Daisies and Steel Panther and are definitely a band on the rise. Too bad we won’t get to hear the band that recorded it play it live. Shortly after the recording was completed, Colin Parkinson (bass guitar), Andreas Eriksson (lead guitar) and Drew Lowe (rhythm guitar) all decided to leave the band, stranding James and drummer Phil Beaver with all this great music! Since then, they have recruited journeyman Danny de la Cruz to play lead guitar, Dan Stevens (formerly with the cover band Metalworks) on rhythm guitar, and Brazilian session bassist Vinnie Colla.
Inglorious have just started a European tour supported by City of Thieves. Go see them, buy the album and support another great new band!
Ride to Nowhere is out now on Frontiers Music srl