H. E. Miller, Your Time Will Come. This energetic album could have been a fine raw, Elms-like slab of classic rock.

Label: Independent
Time: 10 tracks / 35 minutes

This New Jersey rocker owes plenty to the Rolling Stones – both in the overall sound of his tunes and his vocal bravado – and this follow-up to 2010’s Apocalyptic Dreams has the short, sharp urgency of The Elms.
There’s a lot going on here, especially in the guitar department. Miller plays everything, sings and produces, so you can understand that he puts plenty of feeling into the songs. Most of the way through, there is both rhythm and some exciting lead guitar, giving the disc a moist, hot, swampy sound. Occasional stabs of brass give it extra guts.

Miller has a sense of melody too (especially “Wishing Well”), even if it doesn’t vary as greatly as it could.

However, there is so much that could have made disproportionally huge improvements and much of it is that old answer – get an independent and objective pair of ears. The muddy mix obscures the sometimes searing guitar that clearly went into the recording; it is frustrating that so much power has dissipated by the time it comes out the other end. He slides up and down the neck with a sense of mission at the start of “Have You Seen the Stars” but the lead is mixed well down and the songs need more space to breathe - everything seems to be at the same level as everything else. I would like to have heard  more lead above rhythm.

Many vocals are also mixed down, making it hard to know quite what he wants to say. The first few tracks have a lot of anger about them, with axe murderers, avenging gangs and threats, but – energetic as the music is – I found it hard to know where that emotion was coming from and directed to.

Other than when “The End” draws a welcome warm, acoustic bluesiness to the final few minutes, there is little light and shade. An expressive drummer could have tweaked the mood and helped reduce the number of tracks that sound similar to one another.

Extra people do cost more, but if you are this near to getting it right, the difference it can make is enormous.

Derek Walker

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