Sound — 7
One of the pioneers of funk rock and a determined figure in the world of heavy metal, Glenn Hughes is perhaps best known for marrying intense bass lines with his dynamic operatic vocals. Early in his career he stood out as the mainman in Trapeze, before joining fellow newcomer David Coverdale in a revived version of Deep Purple back during the "Stormbringer," "Burn" and "Come Taste the Band" eras of the band. Aside from his work on the Black Sabbath album "Seventh Star" in the mid 1980s, and the more recent ventures as a member of rock supergroup Black Country Communion and short lived California Breed, Hughes has had just an active career as an independant artist in numerous collaborations and solo projects. Even with a new Black Country Communion record currently in the pipeline, Hughes steps back out with his follow-up to 2008's "First Underground Nuclear Kitchen" with an album that sets less of an emphasis on funk and soul and more on rock and metal, including everything ranging from drop tuning to a '70s fuzz rock feel.
"Resonate" might be best described as Glenn Hughes adapting to the current trends in rock music in an attempt to reach out to a fresh audience, and you especially get that feeling when listening to tracks like "My Town." There's a certain modern Bon Jovi feel all around, from the emphasis on massive kick drums during the verse to the palm muted chord progression that opens up into a large vocal refrain. Lyrically it might not be Hughes' finest presentation (the main hook is literally "Navigator/ Alligator"), but vocally the 65 year old still has preserved much of his dynamic range and distinctive vibrato in his upper register. So those familiar listeners just entering the fold to hear how Hughes has (or hasn't) changed over the past several decades already have that layer of familiarity to make for a more engaging listen. The opening track "Heavy" certainly has that feel, with sliding bass and stop-start guitars providing somewhat of a funk attitude before hitting a chorus that recalls Led Zeppelin and draws similarities to newer groups ala Royal Blood and Beware of Darkness who take plenty of influence from that same sound. "Long Time Gone" begins with just acoustic guitar and Hughes' vocals, before gaining momentum with atmospheric synthesizers and full band accompaniment. In the opposite corner, "Let It Shine" attributes more of an active rock feel with heavier chord progressions and brooding melodies, with the potential to easily pass for an outtake from his collaboration with Tony Iommi from 2005's "Fused." There is somewhat of a variety found throughout these eleven tracks, however the end result still lands firmly planted in rock territory and remains a formidable listen.
Lyrics — 7
While lyrically "Resonate" isn't his best presentation of lyrical genius, Glenn Hughes has always had more of an attention for formulating bold vocal melodies and belting out some impressive notes. In that case his latest solo venture stands tall against his earlier efforts, as there aren't many singers that can stand against Hughes' impressionable range, let alone in the middle of their seventh decade. Glenn seems ready to demonstrate that, as well, since "Resonate" jumps out immediately with the commanding sounds of "Heavy," which are centered around a lung busting chorus.
Overall Impression — 7
While he certainly is still remembered for his array of bold collaborations throughout the years, Glenn Hughes reassures his ability to deliver an album on his own with "Resonate." The album lands firmly in a "modern classic rock" vibe, with a few songs allowing Hughes to broaden out towards heavier sounds and more expressive acoustic settings.