BRIDGER – Bridger (2011)
BRIDGER is the namesake solo album from guitarist Glen Bridger.
Glen steps out of his role as the current lead guitarist for classic rock band Head East to offer ten original songs in the melodic rock / classic rock style, and one tribute song.
Vocals are handled by Terry Ilous (XYZ, Great White), bass by fellow Head East mate Greg Manahan, keyboards by Sam McCaslin (Michael Schenker, Carmen Appice), and oddly named fellow, Danzoid, on drums. JK Northrup also pops up to lend a hand on guitar and bass.
Of course, a solo album is to feature the principle player, and Bridger’s skills as song composer and guitarist are quite impressive throughout. He successfully navigates the music he knows best, melodic hard rock with some AOR flavor.
Anyway, the dominating part of the album are definitely Terry Ilous’ vocals. He’s one of the best, most versatile singers around and really can do no wrong. Terry could sing a song about actuaries and still make it interesting.
There are rock anthems ready arena play in “Tuesday Afternoon”, “How Long” and “Good To Be Home”. On these tracks we can hear a total band approach to jamming on the songs with Glen Bridger coming in and out with exciting riffs that were very engaging and interactive.
Bridger has an uncanny ability to weave tight melodies, a rock groove, and mammoth hooks in all these songs.
Yet, Bridger offers some blues flavor on the ballad-like number “On the Ledge”, while “Don’t Push Me” is a heavier, more aggressive song, but instantly accessible.
The album also contains many slow numbers like the very Mr. Big-esque “Free”, the pretty much like modern day Bon Jovi “Without A Sound” (which could easily have slotted into that band‘s ‘These Days’ album) or the emotional stripped back “Live For The Moment”.
“Good to Be Home” is a fine rocking semi-ballad with smooth vibe, then “Gonna Get Better” thankfully speed up the things, it’s a Led Zeppelin / Great white tinged rocker where Glen doesn’t let fly on his fretboard.
Close to the end, the short ballad “Once In A Lifetime” is arguably one of the best composed / performed songs here that shows the songwriting talent of Glen Bridger.
And then… a Ronnie James Dio tribute in the form of Black Sabbath’s classic “Heaven And Hell” cover. Bridger try to inject their own style into the song and, for the most part, succeed, but some die-hard metal fans would take this version as a total blasphemy. Take it or leave it.
Glenn Bridger’s self-titled solo debut is an entertaining album of well composed and played melodic rock, only made better by the vocal performance of Terry Ilous.
Terry’s ability to move from rockin’ dynamics to the smooth sensuality on the ballads is quite significant. I wonder if Bridger would have sounded this good with somebody else behind the microphone.
So what we have here is an album that contains some neat stuff, although not all the songs are completely convincing.
Certainly not a failure by any means, “Bridger” still have a way to go before rule on the major leagues, but their traditional melodic approach to rock will please fans of the genre worldwide.
01 – Tuesday Afternoon
02 – How Long
03 – On The Ledge
04 – Don’t Push Me
05 – Without A Sound
06 – Free
07 – Live For The Moment
08 – Good To Be Home
09 – Gonna Get Better
10 – Once In A Lifetime
11 – Heaven And Hell [Ronnie James Dio Tribute]
Terry Ilous (XYZ, Great White): Vocals
Glen Bridger (Head East): Guitars
Greg Manahan (Head East): Bass
Danzoid: Drums & Percussion
Sam McCaslin (M. Schenker, Carmine Appice): Keyboards
Jk Northrup: Guitars and Bass
Larry Hart (Montrose, King Kobra, Shortino-Northrup): Bass
Eddy Jones (Head East): Drums & Percussion
Marcus Nand: Drum loop programming, Keys and Guitars
Mark Murtha (London Drive): Keys, Electric and Steel guitar
Pat Fontaine (XYZ): Additional lyrics
Produced by Terry Ilous, Co-Produced: JK Northrup
BUY IT !