Review: Inglorious – Inglorious
Frontiers Music Srl (2016)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
Inglorious is the one of the many new releases from Frontiers, but unlike many of the Frontiers releases these guys are a real band and apparently have signed a long term worldwide deal. Maybe Frontiers has recognised that to have a sustainable rock scene on a major scale requires bands to be developed and given time to develop. If so, then I most certainly applaud them! The band is fronted by singer Nathan James who seems to have been about for ages, despite being a youngster – well at least significantly younger than most of the other old codger singers kicking about. The band is a five piece with two guitarists and wants to bring back British rock, which I also applaud. However, if I am honest, I wasn’t that impressed with the cover of Burn mainly as Mr James opted to spend most of the song at the top end of his stratospheric range. So I approached this with some reservations, expecting more of the same. However, I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised but wasn’t. Instead I was completely and utterly blown away!
Much has been made of the comparison between these guys and Deep Purple and the intro to opening track ‘Until I Die’ reinforces this comparison. But for me the song has more in common with Rainbow, classic MSG in places and possibly Whitesnake because of the bluesier groove. It has a great riff and great verse and bridge breakdowns and a chorus without layers of backing vocals allowing the lead vocals to shine (author puts sunglasses on). ‘Breakaway’ is next and is a pacey rocker and sounds Iron Maidenish in places with Mr James sounding slightly like a young Bruce Bruce a la Samson’s Shock Tactics. The opening riff of ‘High Flying Gypsy’ and the crash as the band comes in really does it for me and I just love the chorus (or is it a bridge with the clever structure?) with some really powerful vocals carrying it along. However, for me the fourth song is really what I wanted to hear this guy do. Mr James has in the past demonstrated his technical excellence, stratospheric range and power but never quite nailed it in terms of the feel for me. He has now and then some! ‘Holy Water’ has a great bluesy riff and a superb groove and the vocals a just totally nail it from the soulful verses and powerful blues chorus – Glenn Hughes should be looking over his shoulder. It has a neat change of pace for the short solo section. Tony Iommi would be proud of the opening riff for ‘Warning’ before it changes tact and pace and turns into another pacey rocker with a stratospheric scream. Cleverly structured and arranged it keeps you interested throughout with Mr James stretching his lungs while still sounding effortless.
Onto the second half of the album and the pace changes with the acoustic opening of slow burner ‘Bleed For You’ and the softer side of Mr James voice is given an airing. Again, another well written and arranged song like all that have gone before it. This continues with ‘Girl With A Gun’ which is another powerful bluesy rocker. With great soft clean vocals during the verse and then getting as hard as a rock for the bridge, it has a great chorus to boot. ‘Your Mine’ is a stomping rocker which breaks to allow Mr James to fill the gap with great lines, building up into the bridge before dropping into a great chorus both musically and vocally. The self-titled title song ‘Inglorious’ opens with a hard edged chorus before dropping down into a great section with some phased (or is that a vocoder?) harmony vocals. This leads into the verse and a real hard-edged chorus and some great musical interludes. This is followed by an acoustic piece entitled ‘Wake’ and for me really gives Holy Water a run for its money as my favourite track. Mr James sings the verses magnificently and almost verges on singing falsetto before the lung-busting chorus. Often these kind of acoustic interludes overstay their welcome, but clocking in at just less than five minutes it is pure gold for me just because of the vocals, especially that note just before the solo section. Mr James I salute you and at the same time think, ‘Git!’ The album closer opens with some gentle piano playing and lulls us into a false sense of security before ‘Unaware’ kicks with great riff driven by a great rhythm. A fitting end to a superb album.
What can I say? Inglorious claim they want to re-establish British rock – check! It does what it says on the tin and then some. A real British rock album, with superb songs, great players and awesome vocals by a British band which clearly shows it influences, without ever really resorting to regurgitating or ripping off those same influences. It just ticks all my boxes. Time to hang my mic up me thinks as many other vocalists may well think when they hear this. Mr James – you have made a happy man feel very old! Think I will stay in the cupboard with the microphone!