Gary John Barden - 'Eleventh Hour'

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Gary John Barden - 'Eleventh Hour'

An album that sounds both fresh and inspired.

Marking the first solo album from Gary Barden since 2007’s ‘Love and War’, ‘Eleventh Hour’ is once again helmed by long-time collaborator Michael Voss and follows a similar formula to its predecessor with the focus firmly on muscular riffs, strong hooks which serve to highlight Barden’s distinctive vocals.

With Voss’ modern production approach and titles such as the energetic opener “Baghdad” and “Child of Sorrow” the lyrical themes are largely of a contemporary nature, placing the album firmly in 2011. The mid-tempo “We are Dead” wouldn’t be out of place on an album by the Voss-Barden band Silver, with dark and brooding overtones and a brief mid-section spoken word interjection that adds to the overall dramatic effect. Stretching out to just less than eight minutes, “Before The Eyes Of The World” also concentrates on war and conflict, driven along by Voss’ insistent riffs and once again using sound effects that evoke imagery of the battlefield. It is not all doom and gloom however as ‘Eleventh Hour’ also has its fair share of good-natured rockers in ‘Shine A Light On Me’ and the bluesy ‘Easy Does It’. And ending the album on an optimistic note, ‘Don’t Take Me For A Loser’ is an urgent, direct hard-rocker with Gary’s breathless vocals sounding as good as ever.

It has often proven to be an uphill struggle for Gary Barden to emerge from the shadow of the classic trilogy that is ‘The Michael Schenker Group’, ‘MSG’ and ‘One Night at Budokan’. The intermittent reunions with Schenker have yielded mixed results and the stop-start nature of Statetrooper’s releases inevitably led to a loss of momentum for a band that seemed to have a bright future. Fortunately his work with Voss, which now stretches back quite a number of years, has been well received and kept him focused on making quality new music..

As ‘Eleventh Hour’ certainly proves, Barden is still more than capable of delivering the goods and coming up with an album that sounds both fresh and inspired.

Dean Pedley

 

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