The Dead Daisies – Holy Ground (Album Review)

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The year is 2015. Glenn Hughes is doing a string of solo dates as a trio, with Doug Aldrich on guitars and Pontus Engborg on drums. I speak with Doug and Glenn on the Rio date, and just like the fans, both seem excited about the prospect of writing an album together after that tour. For one reason or another it didn’t happen: Doug joined The Dead Daisies and did another album with his band Burning Rain, and Glenn ended up recording the solid “Resonate” album, and doing a tour playing exclusively Deep Purple material. The stars have their own way of correcting the course though, because now in 2021 Doug and Glenn are finally together on a studio release, with The Dead Daisies’ “Holy Ground” carrying their contributions and hitting the shelves on January 22nd.

The Dead Daises have always been a revolving door of musicians, with the only constant being Aussie gazillionaire David Lowy, who decided to spend the millions earned from the family business – he’s the heir of real estate behemoth Westfield – by putting together a rock band. Former members of the group include John Corabi, Marco Mendoza, Richard Fortus, Dizzy Reed, Frank Ferrer, Darryl Jones and Tommy Clufetos, amongst others. Since 2013 they released four studio albums, and shared the stage with the likes of Aerosmith, Guns n Roses, Kiss and ZZ Top. Their live shows can be described as a celebration of classic rock, and bring back a feel good, jam-towards-eternity, carefree atmosphere that is becoming rare in today’s music – we covered one of their performances in the past, as can be seen here. Yet, for all the high caliber of the artists involved, their studio albums always left something to be desired. Until now, that is!

2019 brought the announcement of a new lineup: long standing members Marco Mendoza and John Corabi bowed out and Glenn Hughes was brought in, taking over bass and vocal duties. As if to close a chapter, a collection of covers entitled “Locked and Loaded” was released, and the band set off to write new material. Right off the bat, the process was different: all members met producer Ben Grosse at LaFabrique Studio in the South of France to write and record what would become “Holy Ground”. This M.O. paid off, because the sense of unity, cohesion and common goal which was missing from previous releases can finally be felt and heard on the new album.

The first single of this release, “Unspoken”, was actually released an eternity ago, on April 2020. This bluesy rocker was quite a sign of things to come, and appropriately presented the new formation to the fans, with Glenn quickly establishing himself as the driving creative force from then on. This is even more evident on the title track, which is reminiscent of what Glenn brought on “Resonate”. His penchant for creating catchy choruses is absolutely intact, and those two sons have what it takes to become staples in the Daisies’ live sets.

As the name suggests, “Like No Other (Bassline)” brings something new, or at least quite rare for Glenn: a bass solo. His basslines have always been memorable, but here, aside from providing an exquisite backbone to the funky riff, his solo hits you like a ton of bricks midway through the song. “Bustle and Flow” is another track that was revealed a while ago, in an animated video, and is classic rock at its best, with Doug and David firing on all cylinders.

My Fate” slows the tempo and amps up the heaviness, with Glenn exploring his lower register on the verses and unleashing his inner “Glenzilla” in the chorus. “Righteous Days” is also already known by the fans – it was the first taste of the new lineup, which the fans came to know as soon as Glenn was announced as the replacement for Marco and Corabi.

In true Daisies fashion, a cover of a classic rock number is also included here: “30 Days in the Hole”, originally from Humble Pie and also covered by Mr. Big in their heyday, is given a fresh, modernized look, with drummer Deen Castronovo taking also vocal duties. Those who are familiar with Deen know he has an enviable set of pipes, which he employed also on Journey and on his other endeavour with Doug Aldrich, the Revolution Saints.

Chosen and Justified” and “Saving Grace” have that arena rock quality and sound like they came straight out of Glenn’s seemingly endless stash of material. Or maybe not: Glenn’s presence is so strong, and he’s able to bend music to his will with such ease, that these songs could just as well have come from the sessions at LaFabrique.

For all the high octane that permeates the album, the band chose to close the proceedings by bringing out their softer side. “Far Away” is a soulful and reflective ballad, with beautiful orchestrations that hit the emotional bullseye with unparalleled precision.

Overall, The Dead Daisies finally deliver an album that is compatible with the individual accomplishments of the band members. The chemistry between Doug and Glenn, tried and tested on stage, is even more evident in studio. David’s solid rhythm guitar work and Deen’s explosive timekeeping abilities complete the chemistry which has the potential to drive The Dead Daisies to higher echelons in the rock and metal world.

Released By: Spitfire Records
Release Date: January 22nd, 2021
Genre: Hard Rock

Band Members:

  • Glenn Hughes / Bass, Vocals
  • Doug Aldrich / Guitar
  • David Lowy / Guitar
  • Deen Castronovo / Drums

“Holy Ground” track listing:

  1. Holy Ground (Shake The Memory)
  2. Like No Other (Bassline)
  3. Come Alive
  4. Bustle And Flow
  5. My Fate
  6. Chosen And Justified
  7. Saving Grace
  8. Unspoken
  9. 30 Days In The Hole
  10. Righteous Days
  11. Far Away

8.0 Great

The new lineup proved to be a winning combination for The Dead Daisies, as they step on “Holy Ground”. Glenn, Doug, Deen and David combined their mercurial powers and concocted an upbeat and captivating collection of songs, which have the potential to elevate their status in the rock and metal community

  • Performance 9
  • Production 8
  • Audio 7
  • Setlist 8
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