We Will Ride: Can the Leaders of the NWOCR Movement Stay at the Top of the Genre?

Inglorious is a British hard rock band and one of the faces spearheading the current New Wave of British Classic Rock (NWOBCR) movement. Fronted and lead by the awesome Nathan James, the band has gone through a fair number of members during their short tenure so far, but feel like they have finally stabilised with their current line-up, especially given the quality of the music already released as singles. The band seems to have gone from strength to strength as far as performing and songwriting across their first three albums and now with the fourth, this year’s ‘We Will Ride’, look to secure their place at the very top of the UK’s more underground music scene, as well as hopefully push them forth into the mainstream. I have been a fan of this band from the very start and now have even more stock in the band as a good friend of mine is now a member, so I shall try and keep this as unbiased as I can, I promise! Let’s get on with the review, shall we?

‘She Won’t Let You Go’ is not only the first track on the album but was also the first single. Opening on an awesome, almost sleazy guitar riff that somehow gets even better when the rest of the band joins in behind it, the track gets off to a great start. The riff takes a backseat slightly in the verse to Nathan’s ever-impressive vocals, like many a great rock frontman before him weaving a tale of a treacherous, venomous woman out to cause trouble. The pre-chorus builds perfectly into a huge chorus, full of catchy higher vocals, awesome backing harmonies, and some great backing instrumentation. Another verse and chorus immediately give way to an incredible guitar solo from Danny Dela Cruz, a fantastic combination of insane technical skill and the slower, more emotional side of soloing. It may be my favourite solo of the year so far, ignoring the fact that the single was released last year. The solo gives way to another awesome chorus to finish. A great choice for a first song and a first single; a huge chorus and a radio-friendly length and structure. If all the songs are this good it may be my new favourite song from the band.

Now, I have already messaged Danny and gushed enough about the opening riff for ‘Messiah’, but I may have to do it yet again here. It’s so simple yet massively effective, giving off almost Iron Maiden vibes and heaviness. The song is worth a listen for this riff alone, but it helps that the song is great too. The verse had a more modern rock feel to it than a lot of their previous work, with the guitar work almost sounding a little bit like an early Bullet For My Valentine song and the low vocal melody sounding fantastic and hugely catchy, another big highlight of the song. Another perfectly built pre leads into another incredible chorus, and I think I prefer this one somehow even more than the last one. It’s a little slower but is also a little easier to sing along to, especially with the backing vocals and the ‘I’ at the start of each part, something that will be incredible live. Heading out of the second chorus we get a short but fantastic riff and slight solo, sounding like it’s leading into a breakdown until instead, it drops down low with some soft, high vocals and some beautiful clean guitar work. Out of nowhere, it burst into a HUGE final chorus, the first half just being single chords with Nathan’s powerful vocals over the top. We get that awesome opening riff back to finish off too, and I hesitantly pencil this in as my favourite song on the album already. It’s a lot heavier than I was expecting and than they have been recently, reminding me a lot of some of their albums tracks from their first album like ‘Unaware’ and ‘Girl Got a Gun’. Great stuff, and definitely playlisted!

‘Medusa’, the second single, opens on some bluesy/country-inspired slide guitar, the bass drum keeping an awesome rhythm behind it. It sounds even better when they keep the same riff going through the verse and just add vocals over the top, it’s too good of a riff to only let run for a little bit. They build a HUGE sounding drumbeat over the top of the second half, the added layer being one hell of a driving force behind everything else. The pre-chorus was great, having some power chords from the guitars cutting out for half the vocal lines. My only slight issue here is the chorus. I don’t even know what is inherently wrong with it, the hook and vocal melody in it is damn catchy, as are the backing vocals. Something about it just sounds a little off to me, like it doesn’t fit with the rest of the song or album. We get another nice riff coming out of the second chorus before another brief solo from Danny that is beautifully heavy on the wah, Kirk Hammett-esque (he’s good at lead, fight me). I would usually complain about such a short solo but it fits kind of perfectly here, especially when going into the stripped-back first-of-the-double choruses that the band does so well. Another chorus before this song seems to peter off at an odd time, but it is another minor gripe about another great song.

‘Eye of the Storm’ is the first slow song of the album, opening straight into Nathan’s beautiful vocals and a great clean chord progression behind it. The drums soon come in behind, keeping it slow and simple, the whole mood of the song being sombre and emotional. The low guitar licks sound fantastic every so often, too. I have to admit, though, it did take me out of it a little when it picked up the tempo for the chorus. It is a good chorus, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t feel like it fits quite as well as it could have with the verses; I was expecting another plodding, heavy chorus, like their title track on their debut. However, I have no idea how, but it does feel better the second time into the chorus. The bridge again feels a little odd but damn, that heavy riff coming out of it is GREAT and I wish we got so much more of it in the song! It builds back into the strangely uplifting chorus again to finish, and now I see what my issue with it is. Everything bar the chorus sounds plodding and sad and emotional, only for the choruses to sound massively uplifting, it just makes it feel a little jarring and disjointed. It was a good song overall, and it got easier to transition between the two parts by the end, but at times it felt a little like two songs pushed together.

‘Cruel Intentions’ opens on an interesting little quiet riff, feeling like something from Avenged Sevenfold’s early discography. That feeling doesn’t subside when the song kicks in, either, the riff is HEAVY, feeling like a mixture between A7X and Maiden again. A pretty short verse with most of the same heaviness builds into another huge chorus, the vocals being a real highlight through them. They are catchy, impressively high at times and the fact that some of Nathan’s vocals turn into or are produced into a more backing vocal style and feel is really awesome, making this maybe my favourite chorus so far on the album. It slows down into a fantastic guitar solo, with (I assume) Danny channelling his best inner Synister Gates and Slash lovechild, being again both technically great and just enough slow, sustained notes. The bridge into the final chorus also has a great little solo run in the back that adds even more depth and awesomeness to it. Another chorus and the fantastic riff close it off. It’s definitely up there with ‘Messiah’ in terms of best songs, and right now I’m not sure which wins. Another awesome song and another easily playlisted.

‘My Misery’ starts interesting, with a pretty basic riff and a piano over the top. It sounds awesome, but for some reason reminded me a little of a Broadway musical. The riff soon gets heavied up a bit and the piano gets a little drowned out, but it still sounds great. The verse I could take or leave, but the pre-chorus here was awesome, the piano shining through again behind the vocals as the drum builds up, it all sounds great together. The chorus is awesome, too, sounding huge and epic while staying slow and ballady. It is everything I expected ‘Eye of the Storm’ to be, and I’m happy to take this song over that one. The riff after the second chorus is awesome, especially when it is just the singular guitar, the distortion on it is top-notch and means that when the rest of the band comes back in it sounds even heavier. Again, we have another pre and chorus before the heavier intro riff takes us to the finish. Another great song on an album so far full of them.

‘Do You Like It’ has a great opening riff to it, but generally it is a fairly average song compared to the quality of the rest of the album. The verse is okay and the chorus is kind of forgettable and repetitive. The highlight of it by far is Danny’s insane solo in the middle, even if it is a little short. It’s not a bad song, and would probably be considered a good one on one of their last two albums, but among the quality of this album it feels a little flat and emotionless. ‘He Will Provide’ is much of the same, too, it feeling very much a guitar-focused song, with an inane riff driving it, an incredible double solo in the middle (which I assume is both of the guitarists duelling), and an opening reminiscent of Metallica’s ‘Hit the Lights’. The verse is kind of interesting, with lower, more subtle, and double-tracked vocals that follow a pretty different melody, giving off slight Mastodon vibes to me.  The chorus again, unfortunately though, is a little forgettable. It’s not exactly an issue, not every song on an album can have or needs a huge, stadium-filling chorus, otherwise it would feel like too much! Both are very good songs, they just don’t quite feel like they’re quite up there with the first half of the album. However, ‘He Will Provide’ at least made it onto the playlist just from the solo alone, I’m a sucker for duelling solos.

‘We Will Meet Again’ again (sorry spellcheck) channels some heavy Avenged energy with its two opening riffs, keeping it nice and heavy. The chorus also gets right back to the awesome catchiness the band is known for, too. Outside of that, there’s some nice lead guitar work after the choruses and of course in the solo, yet another technical masterclass. Another good song, but nothing too much I can write about it that I haven’t said in other paragraphs already. The outro riff with the soloing sounded sick, I’ll give it that! It’s pretty much the exact same analysis I can give to ‘God of War’ too, some awesome, heavy guitar work and a pretty good, catchy (if slightly empty feeling) chorus. A good but slightly more stripped back, more basic song.

And finally, we reach the album’s title track to finish. Another great riff here and I loved that it dropped down real low for the verses, the low vocals, and palm-muted guitars always sounding like a great combination. It also builds into one of the best choruses on the album, catchy and easy to sing along to. It’s so nice and refreshing to hear an actually great, heavy song close a rock album in 2021 again, after so many of the albums I have reviewed over the last year or so have closed on some long, drawn-out, slow track that sapped any and all energy out of the ending of the album. This, however, was the perfect closer. Another great song.

Overall: I loved this so much more than I expected to. While I have been a fan of the band since the beginning, I have always found their debut to be my favourite and have struggled to listen to the last two from front to back all too often. This one, however, was fantastic. It felt mature and like a great showcase for the whole band, not just one or two of the members, and I honestly prefer the heavier direction they have taken it this time. It feels more like a modern album than an attempt to make a 70s/80s album and, as a result, feels like the band as a whole is more comfortable. I predict big things for these guys after hearing this!

Score: 8.5/10

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