Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Frontiers Records, 2021)

Karakter: 4/6

GARY HUGHES Decades.jpgWhat we have here is a 2-CD set compiling various solo tracks by TEN vocalist/guitarist Gary Hughes, and as the well-written liner notes state, they are culled from albums and outputs from the past three decades.

These 29 tunes cover a lot of musical and lyrical ground and speak of love, hope, dark times, yearning, and life's wisdom among other things, and while many of them more or less fall into the melodic hard rock/AOR bracket, others are more akin to singer/songwriter music. However, some of these well-written pieces also possess that unmistakable epic feel that characterizes TEN's song material and so they clearly bear the trademarks of Hughes' unique compositional style. While "Decades" illustrates the depth and dynamics of his solo offerings, it also underlines the fact that many of these power-packed anthems deserve much praise for their robust melodies, good hooks, glorious harmonies, and atmospheric richness. The quality does vary a bit throughout as do the production values but do me a favor and check out four of the highlights in the shape of "Heart of a Woman", "Give My Love a Try", "All I Want is You", and the grandiose "There by the Grace of the Gods (Go I)". Those are some pretty damn tasty riffs and superb vocal lines, right? Only a maniac would deem those less than captivating and these two discs contain several solid tracks displaying musical variety that are worthy of your attention.

An interesting collection no doubt and one that boasts passionate, heartfelt compositions that offer a warm and charming sense of escapism. If you are unfamiliar with Hughes' solo efforts, "Decades" is a superb starting point.


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