It’s not every day that two lead singers with storied careers hook up and decide to do a project together, but that is exactly what happened with former Deep Purple members Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner. Most will remember Hughes as the leather lunged vocalist/bassist during Purple’s later years, as well as serving stints with Gary Moore and Black Sabbath. The last decade has seen the singer release a string of strong albums mixing hard rock, metal and funk while still showing off his muscular, soulful voice. Turner on the other hand, spent time as the lead singer of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow on that bands last three albums, and later joined Purple briefly for an album and tour when Ian Gillen quit the band for a short spell. The rest of Joe Lynn’s resume includes stints with Yngwie Malmsteen and Mothers Army, plus a handful of solo releases. Now the two have joined forces for a surprisingly hard hitting and enjoyable mixture of Deep Purple inspired hard rock, soulful ballads, and metal anthems.
It is obvious immediately that Hughes’ voice is better suited to cover the many styles that appear on this CD, especially the heavier songs like the rampaging “Missed Your Name” or the churning opener “Devil’s Road.” Turner tries desperately to keep up and scream with Hughes, but his voice is more at home on the mellower tunes like the wonderful ballad “Mystery of the Heart” or the funky “Sister Midnight.” “You Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” has a nasty guitar lick (as well as flashy guest solos from Paul Gilbert) and a rousing chorus that serves as a fantastic vehicle for Hughes and Turner to both collaborate well together with their different styles. Guitarist JJ Marsh and keyboard player Vince DiCola provide the appropriate Blackmore/Lord comparisons throughout and do a fine job. Marsh especially is an extremely fluid player, mixing tasty melodic runs with technical flashes of brilliance. Perhaps the CD’s strongest tune is “Heaven’s Missing an Angel,” co-written by former Whitesnake/Blue Murder/Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes, who also contributes lead six string work as well. This atmospheric and moody rocker features strong vocals from both singers, catchy lyrics, and spine tingling guitar work from Sykes, and one can only wonder what a three-way project between these guys would sound like. Ending up the CD is a somber, progressive rocker called “On the Ledge” that features Turner in an emotional vocal performance. One thing that needs mention as well is the acrobatic and funky bass work of Hughes throughout the eleven songs here. Usually the man gets more credit for his vocal performances, but his bass playing is extremely underrated.
As far as vocal collaborations go, this one is surprisingly successful, and perhaps stronger than both singer’s solo efforts. It would be interesting to see if they choose to record together again, as there is some serious hard rock and soul going on here that features the talents of both men quite well.