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GLENN HUGHES
RETURN OF CRYSTAL KARMA

SPV Music / CRCL-90001/2
Produced by: Hughes & Michael Scott

Released: OUT / Website
Closest Relative: Deep Purple
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 62%

  1. The State I'm In
  2. Midnight Meditated
  3. It's Alright
  4. Switch The Mojo
  5. Gone
  6. The Other Side Of Me
  7. Angela
  8. Owed To 'J'
  9. This Life
  10. Days Of Avalon

Since Glenn was able to throw off the constraints of Addiction and return full time to music making, the appointed Voice Of Rock has committed some wonderful moments and sensational vocals to record.
Over half a dozen solo records, Glenn has seldom repeated himself. From the AOR of From Now On, the soul and funk of Feel, the aggressive hard rock of Addiction to his last album, the more soulful modern rock of The Way It Is.
Glenn surrounds himself with the best musicians and the best songwriters and it shows through.
Which is why it is clear on his new album Return Of Crystal Karma, that something is missing. This album misses the spark that the others had to varying degrees. When an album misses such a spark, the best place to start is the songs. And that is where R.O.C.K. falls down.
The album's sound is also a little confused. Sure enough,
some parts of it rock as hard as any Glenn Hughes record has ever rocked. The guitar sound is brash and intense, yet it hasn't the impact of Addiction. The album also has it's soulful side, but without the same approach or appeal of Feel. To sum up, the album is a blend of The Way It Is and Addiction without showing the strengths of either album.
The opening number The State I'm In is very similar to The Way It Is' You Kill Me and tracks like Midnight Meditated, The Other Side Of Me and This Life are all guitar heavy modern rockers, but without a killer punch. The choruses are just not there and the melodies and hooks within the songs don't have the desired effect.
Gone is a re-write from the recent Iommi/Hughes sessions, but again lacks the feel Iommi as a guitarist could have brought to this version of the song.
JJ Marsh is undoubtedly a killer guitarist and shines on many opportunities here, but Glenn misses the song writing contributions of past collaborators as Bruce Gowdy, Marc Bonilla and Pat Thrall.
There are a few good songs here and the production is still A+, but when you have a catalogue of achievements like Glenn does, this album just falls short and I for one will rank it behind most of his other albums.
As a bonus, Glenn has included a 6 track live CD as disc 2. I can think of only a couple of reasons why an artist would do such a thing. One would be if there was no possibility of it being issued in full as a live album at a later date or the other reason is that it just wouldn't hold up as good enough for official release. While I always love getting these bonuses, it's clear enough that this will never be released outside this bonus. The songs are killer (You Kill Me, Neverafter, First Step Of Love, No Stranger To Love, Coast To Coast & Your Love Is Alright), but I don't think Glenn was having a good night. On both You Kill Me and First Step Of Love his voice breaks in most unusual Glenn fashion. He does redeem himself on No Stranger To Love and Coast To Coast.
BOTTOM LINE: Another album for devoted Glenn Hughes fans, that will sit nicely between Addiction and The Way It Is. But overall and in the general scheme of things, this isn't the strongest melodic rock record and certainly not one of Glenn's better moments.
This is not going to convert any new fans and may also disappoint a few die-hards, but with several other projects in the wind, it won't be too long before I will be singing Glenn's praises again. Stay tuned for the Voodoo Hill project for example.
PRODUCTION: 85% SONGS: 55% VIBE: 50%ATTITUDE: 50%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Established Glenn Hughes fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Play Me Out . Four On The Floor . Hughes/Thrall . Blues . From Now On . Feel . Addiction . The Way It Is . Incense And Peaches . R.O.C.K.



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