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Barden, Gary: Eleventh Hour

The last time I stood toe-to-toe with Gary Barden was in 2007 and the Love and War album which was released by Escape Music, I believe, under the name Gary John Barden. According to Escape Music, "Gary now presents us with Eleventh Hour which features 11 tracks of hard rock brilliance. These new songs are fresh and exciting and Gary has poured his heart and soul into them. Once again Michael Voss is ever present and the end result is just perfect. This is a hard hitting rock album that highlights what a great singer Gary is, his contribution to the British rock scene is just legendary."

I'm not sure whether Eleventh Hour justifies the epithet, "hard rock brilliance" although time will determine the outcome of that one but it is surely one of the better pieces of Barden's work since the 1980's. From the melodic, catchy "Fallen by the Wayside" to the ultra-heavy "Before the Eyes of the World" we find an artist fairly close to the top of his game.

My colleague Dean Pedley recently described Eleventh Hour as finding Barden," in largely downbeat mood with songs dealing with war and conflict." A swift look at the song titles would superficially suggest an albums worth of doom and gloom but in fact it turns out to be quite the contrary even when the "Child of Sorrow has to, beg, steal and borrow," such is the strength of the songs which juxtapose the aforementioned war and conflict with soaring melodies which make Eleventh Hour well worth purchasing.

Track Listing:
1- Baghdad
2- Fallen by the Wayside
3- Child of Sorrow
4- Would You Wanna Do
5- We are Dead
6- All in
7- Blackmail
8- Shine a Light on Me
9- Easy Does It
10- Before the Eyes of the World
11- Don't Take Me for a Loser

Added: October 18th 2011
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Artist MySpace Page
Hits: 2975
Language: english

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Barden, Gary: Eleventh Hour
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-10-17 18:41:16
My Score:

With bands like Silver, Praying Mantis a resurrected Statetrooper and Michael Schenker Group, vocalist Gary John Barden has never really been out of the rock scene. However with four solo albums and the odd dalliance with MSG arriving in the last five years, it really does feel as though GJB is slap bang in the middle of a career renaissance. If you are looking for good honest hard hitting, gritty, yet massively melodic rock, then you really should check out either (or all) of Gary's last three albums Agony & Xtasy, Love And War and Rock 'n' Roll My Soul. However as a starting point you could also do a lot worse than his latest offering Eleventh Hour.

Michael Voss (who fronts one version of MSG these days Barden fronts the other and both contain Schenker himself!) handles production and the sheen that the Mad Max frontman brings to the punchy guitars and straight forward beats brings a grander scope to what in the wrong hands could have quite simple fare. As it is Eleventh Hour isn't an album that's liable to challenge you, or expand its genre. However what it does do is rock and hard at that. Barden may well be singing about some weighty topics, many revolving round recent wars and conflicts around the world. However this is a punchy album that wallops home its musical message first and foremost the intelligent and thought provoking lyrics are merely a bonus. Barden is also still in extremely fine voice, handling the mix of barroom boogie, keyboard infused rockers and slower numbers with ease and confidence.

It would be stretching it somewhat to suggest that Eleventh Hour will be hailed as a rock classic, or even a career defining release for Barden (those are still the early MSG and Statetrooper releases). However that doesn't stop it from being another album that any devotee of melodic, or more straight ahead rock will get a lot out of.

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