Just over two years ago I discovered INGLORIOUS, when they were support to The Winery Dogs. I was blown away, this band was going to be huge, I kept telling everyone. The debut album was magnificent, what a ride. But since then there have been some issues. There is no disputing that frontman Nathan James is exceptional, he has one of the best voices in the business. Hughes, Coverdale think in that vein. Powerful, classy and a range that covers all. However, the band shockingly imploded in December, when 3 members left suddenly leaving James and drummer Phil Beaver as the last men standing. Although they have been replaced, Drew Lowe on rhythm Guitar, Andreas Eriksson on lead Guitar and Bass Player Colin Parkinson are the musicians that feature on ‘Ride To Nowhere’. So let’s not talk band politics, or discuss any well documented outbursts, the music is really what matters and it’s the Album I am going to focus on, well for now.
Similar to the second album, you have to play it a couple of times, before you get ‘into the groove’ to coin an old but valid phrase. We embark on solid ground, ‘Where Are You Now’ is dashing with Nathan starting as he means to go on, it’s quite catchy as power anthems often are, some falsetto in places and a little indulgent guitar. ‘Freak Show’ has a Dead Daisies kind of hook, again Nathan is in control and again it gradually starts to cling to you. We continue with the melodic ’Never Alone’ about a woman called Tina who was special in Nathan’s early life, then gentle rocker ’Tomorrow’ and the faster chant of ‘Queen’ (written in honour of Nathans mother) and we start to hear more from the super cool guitarist Andreas Eriksson. Halfway through the album now and I’m not exactly ecstatic, just pleasantly going with the flow.
‘Liar’ sees a more deeper sound, moody and rather infectious, James provides vocals that are really clean and resonantly clear as a bell. This is a bit of a turning point on the record as ’Time To Go’ which follows, has a back beat lower than anything before. Almost a game of two halves you would say. Credit to Kevin Shirley on the production, he has put INGLORIOUS on a different level. The latest single ‘I Don’t Know You’ smells deeply of Coverdale essence, definitely a hit, with its enormous strength and sublime guitar, echoing Whitesnake, but that’s not a bad thing. It was co-written by Andreas and Heather Leoni from ‘Gypsy Heart’( You might catch Heather and Nathan with a duet on the current tour). ’While She Sleeps’ really gives a punch, vocals are top dollar and the band are tighter than the proverbial ducks’ on this one. The title song ‘Ride To Nowhere’ has a massive build up, but when Nathan starts, well, it might be just me, but I get a whiff of Free’s ‘Wishing Well’ and this spoils it for a while. Shame because it’s a massive song, it is quality and has all the elements, thankfully it redeems itself, with a stunning ending. Final song ‘Glory Days’ is a beaut, sad and soulful, written about the breakdown of a relationship, it is Nathan at his best, he hits notes higher than you think humanly possible.
Well to sum up, Nathan James is INGLORIOUS, no argument. Through the storm and out the other side the ship has set sail and turned in a new direction. This third album is so different from the debut, which had the brilliant tracks ‘Until I Die’ and ‘Holy Water’. That album saw INGLORIOUS incredibly tight knit and quite heavy in places. ‘Ride To Nowhere’ is more Nathan James orientated, the rest of the band being rather suppressed. But that doesn’t stop it being a decent listen, it just doesn’t have the balance that the first album had. It focuses on the vocals a lot more, a lot of the lyrics by James are a reflection of the grief he has endured personally this past year and so many fans will admire him for it, because they love Nathan and thats cool. Personally I don’t think there is much on here that outshines the first album, which I loved and found so dynamic. Therefore it will be interesting to see how it fairs and what happens in the next series of INGLORIOUS.
‘Nathan at his best, he hits notes higher than you think humanly possible’
Highlights – I Don’t Know You, While She Sleeps, Glory Days
RIDE TO NOWHERE IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM http://www.frontiers.it/index.php