It’s been over a decade since his last solo album, but Damian Wilson hasn’t exactly been sitting twiddling his thumbs. The Threshold and Headspace mainman is a prolific collaborator, busy working with the likes of Rick Wakeman, Ayreon and Mostly Autumn, but his solo endeavour has lured him back in again. Built For Fighting, Wilson’s fourth record, is prog-lite, but heavy on melody and mood. Contrasting the metallic undertones of his day job in Threshold, the musician’s solo work veers into singer-songwriter territory rather than rock.
That’s not to say it’s bad, with sprightly opener Thrill Me boasting one of the most succulently moreish hooks of the year so far. Despite featuring stellar musicians such as Lee Pomeroy and Adam Wakeman, there’s little musical gymnastics on display, although the curiously titled Sex & Vanilla revs things up with some spunky classic rock. Perhaps better suited for a Sunday evening BBC Radio 2 session instead of a prog blow-out, Built For Fighting still manages to evoke something deep inside. Try listening through headphones to Wilson’s ear candy voice bellowing amid strings on I Won’t Blame Life without getting the chills – it’s nigh on impossible.