The Glorious Sons’ War on Everything and Reinvention of Rock
2019 has been many things for The Glorious Sons as they have continued their aggressive and passionate take over of rock n’ roll. The Kingston, ON natives road into 2019 on a high wave with the success of their single “Sawed Off Shotgun” and continued it with a strong headline tour across the United States. With seemingly no days off the road the band quickly hit the festival circuit for a few months before they ended off the summer with a supporting role on The Struts tour.
During this time the transition began from established material to the future ahead as The Glorious Son’s debuted “Panic Attack” – the first single off ‘A War on Everything’ released on September 13. Audibly it was clear that the band had no intentions of backing off the energy captured with “S.O.S.” and American rock fans were in for more high intensity rock n’ roll exports from Canada. As the festival appearances and tours ran on the band began to introduce more songs to their fans and crowds across the country as songs like “Kick Them Wicked Things” and the eventually released “Pink Motel” made the set.
Now the full album is here and with 14 tracks The Glorious Sons have captured lighting in a bottle and churned it into a poetic narrative that doesn’t pull back any punches of the struggles of society. From top to bottom, this is a full breakdown of ‘A War on Everything’ :
Panic Attack – The first single from the album set the tone months before the album release. The sound is similar enough to songs in the band’s established catalog that casual fans will identify it as The Glorious Sons on radio but lyrically it is a sharp left turn. Brett Emmons’ vocals bleed passion on this track and lead the track with the instrumental section feeling as a supplement to his powerful cries.
A War on Everything – The title track of the album and an anthem of sorts that (while slow) still screams with energy. Narrative structure reigns supreme on the track but a dynamic drum beat shines brightest and carries the song from start to finish. The song never feels to drag as it carries listeners through a range of emotions in it’s story. The shift in energy that happens mid way through the song with the powerful group vocals and increased guitars will make for a powerful moment if this song makes it into the live set.
Spirit to Break – Much like previous material from The Glorious Sons this track dabbles in the sound influences of many genres and is successful while doing so. Falling somewhere between a pop infused dance track and a bluegrass ballad the contrasting sounds blend well and the harsh but realistic lyrics make the track one of the most contemplative on the album. This one is hard to describe as there isn’t really much else like it out there – a sure compliment to The Glorious Sons artistic process.
Closer To The Sky – Beats and bass heavy, this track is another change in pace on the album and lighter lyrically which makes it a refreshing addition to the album. Structurally the song falls close to some of the recent work of Imagine Dragons but doesn’t dabble as heavily in the synth sound making it more successful as it retains a rock edge in the overall tone. Again, the guitar section towards the latter end of the song before the slow down remains critical to the execution of the track.
Wild Eyes – This one is going to be a rollercoaster live and is one of the best songs of The Glorious Sons career (as well as the album) as they capture energy that hasn’t been heard since the early days of Aerosmith or Guns N’ Roses. At 3 minutes the track feels like it a no brainer for the next single to be released to radio – clear vocals, a distance sound that is all their own and a raw personality that is infectious. This is track is a must listen.
A Funny Thing Happened – Quirky, slow, country and out of place start in the context of the album this track could have been seen as filler but a pivot earlier in the track makes it one of the most diverse songs on the album. Lyrically this one is a bit hard to digest than some of the other songs on ‘A War on Everything’ but that doesn’t make it any less fun. The chorus sections will certainly be a blast to shout live and it feels like the strong is built to solely exist in the live atmosphere.
The Laws of Love and War – A ballad in the truest form and a narrative masterpiece. The echo of the acoustic guitar mixed with Emmons raspy voice make this track hit a lot of the same feelings of 80’s rock ballads but with less glam/glitter and instead with all the morale complexity that The Glorious Sons infuse in the art.
One More Summer – A blues track at the core this song could have be a single from this album and still may end up going that way. The clear vocal track on this album and drop tuning give it a distinct punchy sound. The heavy bass and drum mixture also make the song impossible not to move too, another must listen track that feels. The album bleeds heavy on the sound influence of Welshly Arms, who The Glorious Sons toured with in 2018, which raises the question of if their heavy deep blues sound influenced them at all during that run.
The Ongoing Speculation Into The Death of Rock and Roll – The uninvited but welcome with open arms punk influenced track. This track more than most others on the album showcases the diverse range of sounds The Glorious Sons have mastered with this album. Despite it’s punk rock sounds the tuning still remains distinctly blues and pure rock through out. It may not be the most technically perfect but its raw, unfiltered and vibrant.
Kick Them Wicked Things – Unrelenting is the only word that can be used for this track but in the best possible way. The song doesn’t let up until late in and even when it does it happens under false pretense as the band dives right back into this garage-trash track. The Glorious Sons have something to see with this song and it is best to just listen to the message they are trying to give listeners. It’s done well and with high impact.
I’m On Your Side – Landing somewhere between a woeful ballad and a radio rock polish this track tows the line between mellow soft rock and the heavy punch The Glorious Sons love to embrace so much of. It is no regards a bad track but despite its powerful lyrical content it falls flatter than the rest of the album with a bit less punch and a bit more sentiment. Not fully out of pace but missing something that is hard to locate.
Kingdom In My Heart – The stadium rock track The Glorious Sons have always needed arrives late in the album with a song that will be used for sporting events nationwide soon. From the first note the song heralds back to the golden era of rock with a thumping kick drum and relatable lyrics that a fun to sing-a-long with. This song will be a defining moment of the live sets moving forward and a top track of their discography without question.
Lean On Me Love – Every iconic band has a genre defining track that defines an album and this is the track that succeeds in this category for The Glorious Son. It’s slow yet fiery vocals blend wonderful with the soulful bluegrass and country tuned guitars for an erie track that screams of heartache. When the chorus vocals join late in the song the track gains a heavy gospel influence that only grows an intensity as the song ends with a screaming refrain.
Pink Motel – The final track and second single off the album recaps the full listening experience wonderfully through it’s progression. Full of both emotional highs and lows this is the ballad of the album that shines the brightest and it ends with a passionate breakdown that is unmatched in songs of it type. A perfect ending to a near perfect album.
The Glorious Sons have tactfully put together not only the best album of their artistic career but a collection songs that may be one of the most original albums of the past decade. It isn’t perfect because much like life the stories they are conveying don’t allow them to be perfectly polished. Those imperfections are part of The Glorious Sons sound and can only be read as a dynamic energy. There isn’t much more that could have been done to make this a better album. It has drama, it has emotion but most importantly of all it has a message that is worth a damn caring about.
The world is an awful place but The Glorious Sons have found beauty in the struggle and given us ‘A War on Everything’ – a rock masterpiece on the levels of which we haven’t had in years. 2019 was more than The Glorious Sons’ year – it was the beginning of a new chapter for them that might just go down in rock n’ roll history.