“They are like a young Deep Purple”! The words belong to the mouth of Queen guitar player Brian May after their gig at the Classic Rock Magazine awards. I think it was that award, anyway. How’s that for raising expectations on a new band? Hype anyone? Add to the fact that the band has been more or less hailed by – mostly British – media as the new saviors of rock ‘n’ roll. Much to live up to, you think? With Brian May’s comment, I guess it’s not that hard to imagine where these guys come from musically – yes, what gets these guys off are groovy, melodic hard rock – mostly from the 70’s – bands that played with passion, fire, heart, soul and crotch. We’re talking influences such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Whitesnake, Bad Company. Namedrop such names and you’ll get my attention right on the spot, these are all bands that I truly love and respect big time. The band was formed in 2014 by lead singer Nathan James, a guy with a huge set of pipes and who also have a past as a singer with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and ex- Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth. James spent some time to make sure he found the right musicians for his new band and it had to be musicians that shared his views on how music should be written and recorded – organic and live, dynamics were of huge importance. He found his gang in rhythm guitar player Wil Taylor, bassist Colin Parkinson and drummer Phil Beaver. The final piece to get the puzzle together was, of course, to find a lead guitar player that could be a guitar hero that put feel and presence before going off a 100 miles / hour on the fretboard. Enter: Andreas Eriksson. Eriksson used to handle lead guitar, co-writing and co-producing duties in Swedish melodic rock / sleaze gang Crazy Lixx and also one half of Swedish country rock duo The Northern Cowboys, was exactly what the band needed to fulfill the visions they had of the perfect rock band. So the band set out to write songs for their debut and they also managed to get co-writes from guys like guitar players Al Pitrelli (ex- Alice Cooper, Savatage, Megadeth, Widowmaker, Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Joel Hoeckstra (Whitesnake, ex- Night Ranger, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and Neil Fairclough (Queen). The record is self-produced, a choice made after well-known producer Chris Kimsey (Rolling Stones) told them there was nothing he could bring to the table that the guys already hadn’t done themselves. Expectations didn’t exactly sunk after reading this, right? Let’s find out if this band is just one big hype or if they indeed managed to rise to the occasion.
The first thing I hear is a Jon Lord influenced Hammond intro, not a far cry from the one that opens Deep Purple’s “Perfect Strangers”. That intro goes right into something that makes me think of a mix between said band’s “Highway Star” and “Space Truckin'” and with a kicking Led Zeppelin-like groove, “Until I Die” kicks my ass like the motherfucker it is. Man! The song also holds an amazing vocal melody and some 70’s catchiness and here I sit looking like a complete tool with my jaws down on my knees. Did I say ‘Man!’? “Breakaway” follows without so much as a breather, a steady, straight forward hard rocker from the school of Purple / Rainbow / Whitesnake, the kind of song Joe Lynn Turner would sell his mother to write – fan-fucking-tastic! “Kashmir” might be one of the most borrowed songs of all time – and rightfully so – but one might think that enough is enough. Ha! If you’re gonna steal then steal from the best. In Inglorious’ case, steal is not the right word, borrow feels more fit and they have borrowed from “Kashmir” in “High Flying Gypsy” quite the bit. But this is not cloning or carbon paper at all, the tune have its own identity and they have also added a more straight hard rock groove to the sound which makes the song an ass-kicker. But more importantly, the tune is damn bloody awesome! ‘Awesome’ is also a good word to describe the next tune up, “Holy Water”. This slower, bluesy rocker takes us into the world of Whitesnake and Free, but also with a more modern Rival Sons vibe. After that, “Warning” takes us on a more distorted and noisy trip, a high-speed one. This is kick ass deluxe, my friends and I guess this one could be a show opener in the future. Or a great closer. The guys take a visit down ballad street with “Bleed For You”, but we’re not talking roses and thorns or any other dripping 80’s power balladry here, no this is a heavy and groovy rock ballad, emotional and soulful with a riff borrowed from Jimmy Page. This, my friends, is how you write a ballad! “Girl Got A Gun” comes along like a heavier early 80’s Whitesnake with the addition of some Black Sabbath here and there. I’m also thinking of Vandenberg’s Moonkings’ terrific debut album when I hear it. It’s tough and catchy with a contagious groove – how brilliant! “You’re Mine” is such a cool and heavy rock groover. It does have some 80’s influences, especially in the chorus, but the groove and format are heavily based on the 70’s second half. The title track – it’s actually a double title track, both to the band and the record – is nothing but pure brilliance. Zep comes to mind again and so does Deep Purple, but this is a modern “Stargazer” or “Gates Of Babylon” – Rainbow Rising (1976) in general comes to mind. Or why not a song like “Valley Of The Kings” by Blue Murder? I also hear some later day Europe in here. An addictive tune, no matter what you think it might sound like! “Wake” breaks the mold a bit. It’s an acoustic ballad – soulful, emotional, heartfelt and beautiful – and I wouldn’t be surprised if some radio station – not rock radio specific – picked it up. It could be hit. It should be a hit! Yes, that too is a brilliant tune. They round off with “Unaware”, a magnificent rock stomper with a slightly “commercial” (God, I hate that word) touch and a melody catchier than a STD.
This album is insane! I maintain that in the last few years there have been an ocean of brilliant rock records released and 2015 was the best year for hard rock and metal since I don’t know when. But this album is beyond even that. Sure, there’s nothing new under the sun here, you have guessed that by my heavy name-dropping up above, I suppose, but the thing with the name-dropping is just to let you get an idea what this band is all about because believe me you, this band have its own identity, these guys are no copy cats or clones. The have their influences and sometimes they wear them right on their sleeves, but everything they do, they put their own mark on it – and let’s not forget about conviction, passion, heart, soul and big load of rock ‘n’ roll attitude. I almost forgot to mention balls, edge and attack! And yes, this band have a real soft spot for the 70’s, but by no means are they a retro act such as Rival Sons or Scorpion Child (nothing wrong with that, killer bands, both of them), instead they have taken all their influences and built a modern version of them. The musicians need to be mentioned as well; the whole band is a real tight unit, but Nathan James sands out – the guy is a singer with an unbelievable range and power and his expressions sets him apart from many other great singers and Eriksson will most likely get his big break as the guitar hero he is and have been for quite a few years now with this album. I’m looking through the track list in search of my favorite track and I can’t find one – I can only find eleven of them. No song on this album is worse than awesome and even though we have only reached the end of February, I’m almost sure that we have the Album Of The Year on hands already. I read somewhere that some writer called Inglorious the future of rock. I can only agree.
1. Until I Die
3. High Flying Gypsy
4. Holy Water
6. Bleed For You
7. Girl Got A Gun
8. You’re Mine