If at first you don’t succeed, try again. A cliché maybe, but in the case of Yeovil trio Hundred Days, it’s why they’re here in the first place. Originally formed a decade ago under the name X-Teller, they gigged constantly across the south of the UK and received strong reviews for the two full length albums they put out. However, it didn’t work out and after a hefty break they re-emerged in the form of Hundred Days in 2007 and have been making good headway since then. This year sees the release of their new album “Mission Exodus”, which according to the band “offers a mix of classic rock, high drama and some fun stuff.” What more could you want?
Already noted for their merging of Classic Rock songwriting elegance with the raw power of Heavy Metal, “Mission Exodus” offers an anthemic, if lengthy set of tracks which display a lot of love for the two aforementioned genres and a desire to harness their collective strengths into something cohesive and powerful. After a short, spacey intro we are greeted with the Alter Bridge meets Blaze Bayley acclamation of the title track with its soaring choruses, and nifty riffing offering a perfect condensation of the band’s sound. Next track ‘Taste of Convenience’ adds a layer of sleaze to its confident, swaggering riffs, giving the impression of what Mötley Crüe could have achieved if they were more into practising their instruments than hookers and blow.
‘What We Do’ regresses back to the origins or rock with its strident, bluesy refrains and emphatic lyrics of “If you don’t like what we do then here’s the door.” A statement few would disagree with, especially when confronted with the punkish attitude and chugging riffs of ‘Suicide Joe’, arguably one of the record’s best tracks. The bread-and-butter Aerosmith-esque classic rock of ‘Psycho Woman’ is rescued by its squalling solos before the irreverent yet grin-inducing jazz/blues interlude of ‘Whatever Happened to You?’ throw a surprising curveball that could easily fit onto any Clutch album. The quality dips slightly with the looping melodies and drab chorus of ‘You Keep Fighting’ while the acoustic-lead power ballad of ‘Heads are Turning’ arrives tailor written for festival crowds and lighters in the air.
Offering a consistent level of songwriting throughout and some strong musicianship, with the three members obviously well-versed in each others’ technique, “Mission Exodus” is a thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious collection of rock/metal numbers that should stand the test of time easily. Best avoided however are the covers of ‘The Power of Love’ and ‘Live and Let Die’ which one can imagine working well in the live environment yet fall flat on record. At fifteen tracks, the album could have done with being pruned, but the pace and energy of the songs means that the end comes round a lot quicker than expected. An impressive second release from a band worthy of another shot at the big time.