Album Review by Jonathan Dyer
Veteran blues-rocker Hughes’s CV reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of heavy rock. His career spans four decades, including work with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath (post Ozzy) and side projects with the likes of Tony Iommi and Gary Moore.
Hughes’s musicianship and dedication to his craft are unquestionable – his powerful bluesy vocal evokes Gillan and Plant in their prime and eclipses the efforts of many frontmen half his age on this, his 10th solo studio album.
Much of the album is as you might expect, although amongst the obligatory fretboard melting solos and watertight rhythm section expertly held together by Hughes’s intricate yet melodic basslines, there are some interesting moments. Musically, the title track could sit comfortably with (and in many cases, head and shoulders above) the airbrushed nu-metal that rotates on satellite TV video channels; the distorted paint-stripping riff that underpins HIGH ROAD and the funk-tinged DARK STAR also suggest Hughes is not prepared to simply live in the past.
However, the album is let down by a number of fillers that follow the ‘Heavy Rock By Numbers’ formula – LAST MISTAKE and DON’T LET ME BLEED the most guilty here – and some rather clichéd nursery rhyme lyrics that the genre is all too often associated with. Hughes delivers lines like “You are the last messiah / the steeple, church and spire” and “Don’t live in isolation / ’cause it’s not good for you” with much passion, but as a songwriter his limitations are all too obvious.
Hughes’s fanbase and those who like their rock heavy with the occasional lighter-waving moment will not be disappointed. However, despite the appearance of post-grunge guitar god Dave Navarro and former Chili Peppers tubthumper Chad Smith on the title track, there is little here to persuade a new audience to investigate Glenn Hughes or SOUL MOVER.