Back in the first few months of 2020 when the world was in lockdown, Nathan James, like the rest of the UK, spent weeks watching Netflix. Immersed in this diet of high drama, serial killers and crazy documentaries, he could have done what most of us did – be a passive consumer.
Instead inspiration was drawn and the TV talking points of last year have contributed thematically and lyrically into what will be one of the most talked about albums of 2021.
Inglorious – We Will Ride (Frontiers Music)
Release Date: 12 February 2021
Words: Liz Medhurst
This is a pertinent reminder of the way to do things. When the world turns to shit, there is only one direction to take and that is to make great art and out-create the madness.
Building on the maturity of 2019’s ‘Ride to Nowhere’, this time our destination is a route straight out of pandemic misery and into somewhere rather more blissful. Despite some of the darker influences, the album is far from depressing.
It is a heady, engaging Hard Rock delight that hits the spot with pinpoint accuracy. This is not a wallflower of an album, content to merge into the background, it demands attention front and centre and keeps the focus all the way through.
For their first three albums Inglorious set their stall out by tracking live, proving their credentials and gifting us with vibrant Hard Rock. This time they are working with a producer, Romesh Dodangoda (Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, Bring Me The Horizon, Stone Broken) in a more traditional studio format.
The results are stunning, with astonishing production values which keep all of the authenticity and identity.
So how do you keep a classic genre fresh? It is all down to quality. It is the difference between having fine cognac, not Spanish brandy. Between wearing cashmere, silk and leather instead of viscose, polyester and PVC.
If we still marked in pints we would be toasting with ten of Adnam’s Broadside instead of London Pride.
She Won’t Let You Go
In eleven tracks there is a broad range of styles, starting with the impressive lead single ‘She Won’t Let You Go’ which turns out to be really only a taster for what lies ahead. There are numbers with huge richness and depth such as ‘Eye of the Storm’, with so many textures to balance out the emotional hit.
Take your pick among the jewels – ‘Cruel Intentions’ is layered to perfection. ‘He Will Provide’ smacks you over the head from first listen and then gets under your skin in an exquisite way. Listen to the opening riff of ‘My Misery’ and you would be forgiven for checking the display info to see if it is a ‘Black Country Communion’ song you had not realised you possessed.
The craft in the album is a joy too. Often the songs take unexpected turns, such as the southern riffs at the beginning of ‘Medusa’, which builds to a powerful Melodic Rock anthem seamlessly. ‘Messiah’ shows yet another side to Nathan’s vocals, showcasing his lower tones in a new way.
Let’s be honest, Nathan James is a vocalist of such class that he would sound good if he were recorded in a biscuit tin, but if you have got it, flaunt it and he is the complete package. There is tenderness, heartfelt emotion, mighty roars, belts, vocal runs – so much flair here, but never showboating for the sake of it.
It is a real band effort too. The equally charismatic and stylistically complementary guitarists Danny Dela Cruz and Dan Stevens trade sweet solos and monstrous riffs. There is the Rock solid rhythm section of Phil Beaver and Vinnie Colla.
Inglorious are a band that have found their groove and that groove is immense, delivering the goods every time.
This album could be their masterpiece but I am reluctant to commit to that description, as that is limiting, suggesting the band has peaked, which I do not believe.
I can however safely say that long after the pandemic has faded, ‘We Will Ride’ will remain a shining beacon of its genre.
There is no flirting with the avant-garde here, but it also clearly slams the door in the face of mediocrity.
It is an exhilarating ride and a trip that I will take any day of the week. I am aching to hear these songs in a live setting, especially knowing what this line up can do on a stage.
We know that Rock is well and truly alive and thriving, and Inglorious are among the elite of the current British scene who have set the standard.
See you at the bar – and it is a high one.
To hear more about the album, behind the scenes stories and a whole lot more, check out our exclusive conversation with Nathan James in this episode of MetalTalk TV.
Pre-orders and pre-saves are available now, including limited edition colour vinyl from orcd.co/wewillride
We Will Ride:
- She Won’t Let You Go
- Eye Of The Storm
- Cruel Intentions
- My Misery
- Do You Like It
- He Will Provide
- We Will Meet Again
- God Of War
- We Will Ride
Inglorious 2021 UK tour dates
Thurs 22nd April Engine Rooms, Southampton UK
Fri 23rd April Sin City, Swansea UK
Sat 24th April Phoenix, Exeter UK
Sun 25th April Junction, Plymouth UK
Tues 27th April Guildhall, Gloucester UK
Wed 28th April Thekla, Bristol UK
Fri 30th April Heretic Fest, Sheffield UK festival headline
Sat 1st May Picture Dome, Holmfirth UK
Sun 2nd May Nightrain, Bradford UK
Tues 4th May Cathouse, Glasgow UK
Wed 5th May Riverside, Newcastle UK
Thurs 6th May Academy, Manchester UK
Fri 7th May Tivoli, Buckley UK
Sun 9th May Arts Loft, Liverpool
Mon 10th May Brudenell, Leeds UK
Tues 11th May Rock City, Newcastle UK
Wed 12th May The Sugarmill, Stoke On Trent UK
Fri 14th May The Asylum Venue, Birmingham UK
Sat 15th May Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes
Sun 16th May Waterfront, Norwich UK
Tues 18th May Chalk, Brighton UK
Wed 19th May ULU Live, London UK