Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Before the debut this really felt like the musical dream team: Glenn Hughes on bass and vocals, Joe Bonamassa on guitar and vocals, Derek Sherinian on keyboards and Jason Bonham on drums. So, was it? Well, I sure wasn’t disappointed in the first effort! On the contrary, it’s been spinning frequently. I did like the pure retro sound of it, even though this has been the subject for debate where some thought it sounded like crap. Already in opener The Outsider you can hear the band has listened to the critique and polished the mix a bit. The guitar is a bit clearer and the keyboards are a bit more prominent. To be honest it does glue together a bit better this time around. I’m surprised they got the follow-up out so quickly considering the problems they had getting their schedules synchronized the first time. I’m not complaining, no sir! This is however no hasty word at all. The songs feel very worked through and no details have been left unattended. In songs like I Can See Your Spirit and The Man In The Middle you find the classic Jimmy Page fifth harmonies nicely tucked in the background. There’s a bigger Zeppelin aura hovering over this album than the previous actually, both in the heavier songs and softer stuff like the acoustic The Battle For Hadriana’s Wall where Bonamassa handles the vocals. A nicely built up number which starts off soft and goes into a fat crescendo section with Telecaster feel in the guitar riffs and a quite subtle but efficient slide guitar mixed with mandolin in the end of the song. Bring back the seventies! I think the combination of Glenn’s and Joe’s is a nice touch. It gives the album a broader sound and both have their own qualities to their voices even if they sound quite different. It feels like they’ve put a bit more effort into the arrangements and production also in a song like Save Me, where it sounds big and dynamic with a touch of Kashmir-style strings enhancing and the beautiful Bonamsassa solo with an oriental touch at times. Another difference is that they have slowed down the tempo a bit and included som softer, yet heavy, songs like An Ordinary Man and Cold. They however don’t stay soft all the way through, but the dynamics are there, in the case of the latter it appears in the form of an double tempo solo part. There are also things that go in a totally different direction. If Bonamassa had sung the southernish Smokestack Woman it would have fit perfectly on any Bonamassa record. Also the subsequent Faithless finds itself in his natural musical habitat, not forgetting the slow blues Little Secret which I hadn’t expected here. The tempo is however picked up again in the phat riffing Crossfire and it all ends with the led heavy Crawl which puts a big fat ending to an album that, after a few spins, actually surpasses the debut!

Janne Stark

Year: 2011

Label: Mascot

Country: USA

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