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On disc: Gary Hughes

- Veritas - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars


(Frontiers - 2007)

The British singer Gary Hughes is well known for his works with Ten and for his project Once And Future King, but he first stepped into the limelight in the early 90's with a self-titled solo album. Since the beginning he has his critics... some say his voice is too expressionless. Others don't like the dark tone. But nobody doubts his abilities as a song writer. With Ten he released in 2006 The Twilight Chronicles and now he's back with another solo album - Veritas.
The opening track is the title track Veritas, a hard rock tune with some symphonic keyboard lines and a catchy hook. Beside vocals and keyboard Mr. Hughes played also guitar and bass at some tracks, for others he got help from his Ten fellows Chris Francis and John Halliwell. From Devil To Pay came bassist Rick Stewart and drummer Ingledew to help him. Drummer Jason Robinson usually plays with the alternative metal band Absent Minds and while bassist Simon Brayshaw's musical home is the British blues band Nightshift. And additionally Johnny Gibbons played some guitar part. Who he is? No idea, never heard of him before.
When listening to See Love Through My Eyes you immediately have to think of some track of his first solo album... The song has a bit the 80's hard rock feeling. An emotional tune which needs a few spins to develop its whole beauty. In My Head starts with some noises and is an average hard rock song, actually without the choir and in a less heavy version this song will probably work better... Or in a semi-acoustic version... Not a total waste of time, but there are indeed stronger songs. Unfortunately it won't get better with Time To Pray, coz which starts with some piano and is a very moody tune, but then the band joins in and the sound gets muddy. The vocal line and the counter part is interesting, but due to the modern, alternative metal parts and the muddy sound the song is ruined. With Wide Awake In Dreamland it gets balladesque. A nice tune, but all fans of Ten and Gary Hughes know that he can do better. Most of his ballads are touching, but not this one... On classic radio it would blend in. More pop then rock is I Pray For You - and a bit too much Billy Idol-sounding. Kitschy. On Synchronicity the kids singing and the synthesizer sounds make it hard to follow... A strange beginning. The main vocal line of Gary Hughes is great, but the kids 'lalalala' and the keyboard part is annoying. With about 8 minutes the song is way too long. With All I Want Is You he gets back to his best... Well, perhaps not to his best, but way better then at the mid-part of the album. The tune has a slightly sad note, but still power and heavy riffs. With I Know It's Time it gets heavy! Heavy riffs and hammering drums - but I somehow have the feeling I know the song... One of the highlights is The Emerald Sea! A few more of this kind and it would be a killer album! This one is catchy, rocks and touches you. Last, but not least The Everlasting Light - a touching ballad. This what his fans expect!
Resume: Not one of his best works, but the majority of songs is good and luckily the muddy and unbalanced sound is not overall the album. Gary Hughes vocal performance is as good as always - okay, not on I Pray For You... Actually the album starts off great, then a weak middle part and towards the end he gets stronger again. Its an album his fans will like, but if you aren't a true fan of Gary Hughes, then better pick another of his albums - solo or with Ten. Perhaps my expectations been too high...

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:

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