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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Reviews: Glen Hughes, Beth Hart, Roth Brock Project, Serpentine Dominion

Glenn Hughes: Resonate (Frontiers)

"The Voice Of Rock" Glenn Hughes has been part of and has worked with some of the greatest bands and musicians in rock history, from Trapeze, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, through to the more recent acts of Black Country Communion and California Breed. Hughes has had a knack of aligning himself with top drawer musicians in his solo career too, as a bassist/vocalist he has tended to favour virtuoso guitarists to put his lungs against and yet again he aligns himself with a master of fretwork in the shape of Soren Andersen who co-produced the album with Hughes and supplies the ax to this record which is Hughes' 14th solo effort and his first record in 8 years.

Resonante is Hughes' heaviest record in a very long time moving away from the funk and soul of previous efforts, it kicks off with the stomping Heavy which has Andersen and Hughes playing the massive riff as special guest drummer Chad Smith beats the hell out of the skins and Lachy Doley stabs at the organ. It's a great start to the record with, in the vein of Mk.III Deep Purple, see the guitar/organ duel on Stay, this comparison to DP is sort of the point as this whole album smells of Hughes trying to reconnect with his hard rock past, from the purple tinted album cover to the groove-laden hard rock contained within Resonate thunders along with big riffs and Hughes incredible voice, he shouts, he screams, he croons and displays why he has claim to the hotly debated "Voice Of Rock" tag.

The pace is kept on My Town which sees drummer Pontus Enborg leading the charge, Flow has a knee trembling riff that sounds similar to the Fused record Hughes did with Tony Iommi. There is an organic feel to the record, very little overdubbing just rock music played like it used to be with a touch of soul Let It Shine, groove on God Of Money and even the obligatory acoustic ballad of When I Fall sounds muscular. Resonate is a heck of a record and cements Glenn Hughes firmly back in the hard rock arena. 8/10 

Beth Hart: Fire On The Floor (Mascot Records) [Review By Paul]

Smoky soul filled blues and even pop courtesy of Grammy nominated singer Beth Hart. The ideal accompaniment to a roaring log fire and a glass or two of the vino. Fire On The Floor, her tenth album is about as relaxing as they come. From the jazz soaked smoothness of Jazz Man, the guitar driven Fat Man through to the Zeppelin infused Woman You’ve Been Dreaming Of, Fire On The Floor is a quite superb release. It isn’t going to appeal to all but I fail to see how this lady doesn’t stir the emotions with her husky delivery.

Having collaborated with many of the Blues world’s top players including Bonamassa and Jeff Beck, she has carved a real niche along with contemporaries like Joanne Shaw Taylor. Hart’s voice conjures up images of many of the great soul and jazz singers, Nina Simone amongst a myriad of others. Sadly, I’ve left it too late to pick up tickets for her latest tour. At least I can console myself with regular listens of a smolderingly hot release. I recommend you do the same to warm your winter nights. 9/10

Roth Brock Project: S/T (Frontiers Records)

Those that know their AOR will have heard the names of John Roth and Terry Brock, Roth has made a career as the guitarist of Starship and as the guitar foil for Reb Beach in Winger, Terry Brock meanwhile was the vocalist of British AOR group Strangeways. The two met on the controversial 2010 Giant album Promised Land (the first one not to feature founding member Dann Huff). This kind of solo record sees them work together again, joined by drummer Scott Trammell as they develop their working relationship again for another set of melodic rock.

Roth handles nearly all of the instruments on this record but his guitar playing is really showcased, many will not be familiar with his talent as he has played the side man to Reb Beach for many years, here he displays his excellent smooth rock riffs and clean slick shredding, he also helps out on the vocals not that Brock needs it though his pipes are slightly gruffer nowadays they are still superb, rich and sonorous, he gives some sleaze to What's It To Ya and adds the passion to the breezy Young Again.

The Roth Brock Project is the newest chapter in these two men's career, it's also the newest contribution to list of great collaborations on the Frontiers label. Roth Brock Project is another strong entry into both that stable of collaborations and also for both Roth and Brock as artists. Quality AOR from two of the genre's top journeymen. 7/10

Serpentine Dominion: S/T (Metal Blade Records)

The bands Black Dahlia Murder, Killswitch Engage and Cannibal Corpse are not known for their light touch so when I saw that ex-BDM drummer Shannon Lucas, Killswitch guitarist Adam D and Cannibal Corpse vocalist George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher were all joining together to form a band, I knew there wouldn't be any keyboards or power ballads on the record. Serpentine Dominion are a death metal band, with an ear to the melodic and touch of the progressive. Lucas has dual kick drums and knows how to use them, his drumming is devastating check out the pure death metal sounding On The Brink Of Devastation that sees him working like a machine.

This record mixes the influences of the three men involved, it's more melodic and progressive than Fisher or Lucas' day jobs with some acoustic guitars resonating through Prelude which leads to This Endless War built on a foundation of clean guitars that are clearly taken from the metalcore background of Adam D. However it is a much heavier prospect than Adam's other bands, here he really shows how talented he is by playing nearly everything else and giving some great technical death metal riffage, complex soloing and of course the crushing breakdowns he has made his name with.

The duo of Lucas and Adam D really gel chugging away at the crushing death metal with melodic touches. Corpsegrinder as is only natural to him roars like Satan if he stepped on a Lego, although to what will be many peoples surprise there are some cleaner vocals present to really throw you off. If you like your death metal aggressive, melodic and complex Serpentine Dominion is an excellent release and a band I hope exist for more than one album. 8/10           

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