Inglorious / Phoenix is an exhilarating snapshot of one of rock’s finest live acts

Five studio albums in six years might appear like a band in a hurry. But Inglorious are old school and heavily influenced by the classic rock genre where, in its glory days, it was the norm to release new product while the dust hadn’t yet settled on the last one. And just to maintain the impressive momentum, they’ve just popped out their first live album.

Inglorious – MMXXI Live At The Phoenix

Release Date: 8 April 2022

Words: Brian Boyle

Apart from their prolific form since 2016, it has been an eventful few years for the band. Back in 2018, Drew Lowe, Colin Parkinson and Andreas Eriksson jumped ship on the same day, and to much amusement, a now-infamous video rant by frontman Nathan James went viral, even prompting Def Leppard to do their own mock version.

Hardly ideal preparation ahead of the release of the new album Ride To Nowhere and a tour already booked. But they rode the storm, recruited Danny Dela Cruz, Dan Stevens and Vinnie Colla and soldiered on. What appears to be a more settled camp now have re-established themselves with last year’s We Will Ride and Heroine albums.

Inglorious - MMXXI LIVE AT THE PHOENIX
Live at the Phoenix. “an exhilarating snapshot of one of rock’s finest live acts.”

I think it’s fair to say live albums are not held aloft and revered in the way they once were. These days, they merely take on token gesture status.

Gone is the religious worship we indulged in when the likes of Deep Purple’s Made In Japan, Thin Lizzy’s Live And Dangerous, Queen Live Killers and Iron Maiden’s Live After Death first hit our overspun turntables, and that is to name just a minuscule amount.

Personally, my ears still prick up when I hear of an upcoming in the flesh release that might transport me back to those days. And when you have the power and presence of Nathan James at the throttle, you’re not going to go too far wrong.

Live At The Phoenix MMXXI is a sexy title, and while James roar of “Exeter make some fucking noise” is a bit Hello Cleveland and doesn’t have quite the same panache as, say Bruce Dickinson’s “scream for me Long Beach”, the big burly powerhouse still pumps out a performance worthy of the famous Los Angeles arena.

And that’s the kind of setting he envisioned his band inhabiting when he set on his classic rock adventure. But for now, it’s venues like the 450 capacity Exeter Phoneix where they earn their crust.

If you’ve ever been an attendee of an Inglorious gig, you’ll know they like to jump your bones good and early, and She Won’t Let You Go and Messiah do exactly that. They’re tight and loud and evidence of a band right up for it after two years in the live wilderness.

“This album is a real true representation of what this band is now,” Nathan said. “After the 18 months of doing no shows, I believe you can hear just how excited we are to finally be playing live again.”

‘Oldie’ Breakaway still sounds as raw and animated when it kicked our shins for the first time six years ago, as does Read All About It, and dare I say it, a much more mature version with this mark of Inglorious.

Last year’s covers album Heroine was a pleasant bonus for fans considering the year that it was. The standout version of the Heart classic Barracuda was a brave move, even for the monster pipes of James, but for just over four minutes here, they absolutely own it.

However long Inglorious continue to spoil us with their revitalised brand of classic rock remains to be seen, but their emotionally charged ballad Holy Water will always be their Mona Lisa. And this performance has them reaching into the souls of every Exonian in the house, with Stevens and Dela Cruz’s respective solos even outshining Commander-in-Chief James.

Despite the fact that Heroine was only out on a wet day, it’s easy to forget they were also airing an album of fresh material in We Will Ride, of which the bruising title track thoroughly justifies the main set closer status.

Encore and another one of their pièce de résistance Until I Die has always been worth the entrance fee alone, and James is hellbent on sending his willing disciples home elated with a string of rallying expletives.

The eleven tracks on offer don’t give you the full story of what went down in Exeter in September of last year. But it’s still an exhilarating snapshot of one of rock’s finest live acts.

MMXXI Live At The Phoenix track-listing:

She Won’t Let You Go

Messiah

Breakaway

Where Are You Now?

Read All About It

Barracuda

Holy Water

He Will Provide

I Don’t Need Your Loving

We Will Ride

Until I Die

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