“Inglorious” CD REVIEW by Adam McCann
II Frontiers Records 2017
Inglorious make it 2 in 2 years, but is it good enough?
A little over a year has passed since Inglorious released their debut album and no sooner than the tour drawing to a close was the announcement for a second album from Inglorious. In a possible nod to Van Halen, Inglorious’ second album is unimaginatively named; II and features an album cover of a woman against a dark Chicago alleyway striking a pose which calls back memories of Backstreet Symphony by Thunder or David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. This imagery sums up Inglorious in a nutshell, as Inglorious play the sort of hard rock of the 70’s and early 80’s that would appeal to fans of Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow, MkIII/IV Deep Purple and Marsden/Moody era Whitesnake whilst at the same time keeping the modern sound which has continued to make bands like Whitesnake and Deep Purple relevant in the 21st century.
Those who thoroughly enjoyed the debut album from Inglorious, will be pleased to know that there isn’t a huge departure from the sound laid down on II. If anything, II sounds more like a band who know what they want. The writing is more concise and even though only a year has passed, you can already see and hear the improvements in Inglorious’ writing. However, the most notable improvement is in their mouthpiece. Nathan James’ voice has always been decent, but there were times during Inglorious where his voice felt strained and forced, whereas with II, that doesn’t even apply. James’ voice is strong, soulful and melodic having all the touches of a young David Coverdale, Danny Bowes or Joe Lynn Turner in their prime.
What is very fun about Inglorious is that throughout their music, a song may contain a little motif, a quip that makes you think: “oh yeah! I recognise that, that sounds like such and such a band” and this is not executed in a way which makes you scream plagiarism, but more in a way which makes you smile. This gives the band a real sense of familiarity and you will find yourself warming to II very quickly. Just as Inglorious began with a nod to Deep Purple’s live version of Highway Star from Made In Japan, II begins with a clean electric lick which is highly reminiscent of Paul Gilbert’s playing from the Mr. Big song; Green-Tinted Sixties Mind before launching into the opening song; I Don’t Need Your Loving, a song with a pure sexy soulful funk beat which oozes early Whitesnake as bassist Colin Parkinson and drummer Phil Beaver lock down a bouncing rhythm whilst James’ golden voice mourns along before the band deliver a chorus of an 80’s stadium band standard that will easily get inside your head. Inglorious follow this up with a pure rocker of once more, early 80’s proportions; Take the Blame. Take the Blame see’s Inglorious giving a good Joe Lynn Turner fronted Rainbow style romp, with guitarists Andreas Z Eriksson and Will Taylor worshipping at the altar of Ritchie Blackmore as they tear through a song that would appeal to fans of Can’t Happen Here or Spotlight Kid. When you listen to the work that has gone into these two songs alone, not just from Inglorious as a band, but from their production point of view, the fact that II has been mixed by the wonderful Kevin Shirley speaks volumes. Producers of Kevin Shirley’s calibre do not lend themselves to shit and II is certainly a far cry from that description and it is no wonder why I Don’t Need Your Loving and Take the Blame were chosen as the singles.
Just like their debut album, II is tappingly catchy throughout, but the issue with this is similar to that of the first. Inglorious can and do write decent tunes, but most of II fails to stick in the memory, but that doesn’t mean that listening to the album isn’t enjoyable. Tracks such as; Making My Pay, Hell or High Water, High Class Woman and a ballad of Thunder standards in Change is Coming easily help anchor you into consciously listening and without these, II could easily be an album of passive listening background music. However, Inglorious have released two decent albums in two years and this proves that Inglorious are burning the engine hard and are far from running out of ideas. Inglorious know the music that they want to play, their target audience and with the backing of Frontiers Records coupled with the hard work that Inglorious are capable of, II shows that Inglorious aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. 7/10
Adam McCann / MHF Magazine