FEBRUARY ALBUM OF THE MONTH
Seven years in to Great Music Stories, I’m yet to write an ‘Album of the Month’ review for Inglorious – but this is absolutely the right time. ‘We Will Ride’ is both a step up and a departure for Inglorious who have created what is emphatically their finest and most rounded album to date.
Irrespective of taste and personal preferences, quality always cuts through. With the rock scene awash with new releases every week, here is an album where the musical proficiency and technical quality demands attention, recognition and applause.
I was quite late into Inglorious: I first met Nathan’s band the day they headlined Wildfire Festival in June 2016. At the time, when I was beginning to report on some of the UK’s undiscovered new grassroots bands, Inglorious were already regulars with national rock media and winning awards as a breakthrough band. In some ways, they were ahead of the scene I was reporting on. In truth, Inglorious were the first of a new generation of British rock bands to breakthrough, and this is a fact that – irrespective of taste – is worthy of respect across the rock community because it shone a light on what was possible for the dozens of rising bands that have since climbed the mountain and, as a collective, now put new rock firmly back on the map.
For this album, I will avoid a track-by-track narrative because this body of material works as an album – as a complete whole. So often, albums are collections of songs that target milestone tracks for streaming sites and albums serve as an excuse to tour. ‘We Will Ride’ works as a cohesive album in its own right. From start to finish, the songs build, the track listing flows fluently, the production values are excellent and there’s no filler. Significantly the album is just the right length. It grabs you and holds your attention in one sitting and will demand a repeat play as soon as it is finished. There is a lost art to crafting an album that works as a cohesive unit and Inglorious have got it spot on with their masterful new release.
The other very strong feeling from this album is that this feels like a band, a group of musicians that enjoy working together, complimenting each other well. There is room for each other and everyone has a moment to shine. With this natural fluency, the music is alive, far more adventurous and confident. There is an art in creating an album that feels like it was effortless to make. It clearly wasn’t effortless, but it conveys a sense that, after various line-up changes, we now have the Inglorious where the band members are enjoying their music and are as one.
The vocal performances are the best yet on an Inglorious album. Everyone knows Nathan James can belt out a song, but there’s far more light and shade on this album. Moments of enormous power and range are masterfully counterpointed with moments of sincere tenderness and emotion. The interplay of vocal performances that are one minute soulful – and at others almost symphonic – makes this a real case study album. Along with 2017’s ‘The Man With Stars on His Knees’ from Aaron Buchanon, this album arguably presents the best vocal performances on a rock album in recent years.
Stand out songs? Well for those that have heard ‘Medusa’ this is a decent calling card on the album. Significantly a number of my rockshow listeners that are not ardent Inglorious fans loved this song and commented on the direction being a bit different. For me, track 2 ‘Messiah’ is where the strut for this fine album kicks in. Danny’s guitar prowess and subtle touches introduce a new world-class talent to the band and Nathan demonstrates the enormous range in his vocal performances. The band is tight and it’s full of attack. ‘Eye of The Storm’ is a stand-out track, building wonderfully and the vocal juxtaposition between soulful versus and power chorus lines exhibit supreme control. ‘He Will Provide’ for me is a band song where the instrumental work, particularly Danny’s virtuoso guitar work, will really captivate the listener. ‘We Will Meet Again’ feels like a perfect show opener – the percussive opening and natural build for a song that grows and flies like a bird. A song both emotional and powerful, and one many will find comfort from after a year of unprecedented tragedy and loss.
Over the years, my interviews with Nathan have documented the highs and the lows, but no one can question his total commitment to his art. Despite chart success and headline slots, he still runs his own social media and connects directly one-to-one with fans. He meets fans at the merch desk and thanks them for coming to his shows. The journey since the second album has had bumpy moments as he’s looked for the band line up that that can truly gel as a band of brothers. ‘We Will Ride’ is that point of arrival. Everything you hear on this album conveys a band in the truest sense of the word: A group of people that fit together, that enjoy working together and have the confidence to push boundaries on what is possible.
The recording of the album in the middle of UK’s COVID-19 lockdown also says a lot about the band’s commitment to delivering music to its fans – to defy considerations to postpone or delay and instead to create and – in doing so – Nathan’s band have created their career-best album to date.
With ‘We Will Ride’ Inglorious move beyond the rising scene, were the promise is all ahead. With this album, Inglorious stand in the rock mainstream alongside the biggest bands out there. It is the album were the band’s sound is its own, they’re not a new band sounding like an old band. And there’s no handicap in being relatively young. In a month when so many big bands release new albums, Inglorious stand tall as our album of the month. The songs are uniformly strong, the production is excellent, there’s no filler and the vocal performances are in a league of their own. For anyone out there that dismissively thinks rock n roll is dead, buy a copy of ‘We Will Ride’ and have your mind changed in just 40 minutes.
With We Will Ride, the proud and evolving heritage of British rock is in safe hands.
‘We Will Ride’ is released on 12th February
Pre-orders for physical product and pre-saves for streaming services are available now, including limited edition colour vinyl from the Frontiers EU and U.S. web-stores and from the band’s own web-store.
Full album track-listing
1. She Won’t Let You Go
4. Eye Of The Storm
5. Cruel Intentions
6. My Misery
7. Do You Like It
8. He Will Provide
9. We Will Meet Again
10. God Of War
11. We Will Ride
Discover more about Inglorious online
Listen again to my past interviews with Nathan James over time: