Ashland, Kentucky based hard-rock/metal group HYDROGYN, which now consists of Julie Westlake (vocals), Jeff Westlake (guitar), Jeff Young (guitar; ex-MEGADETH), Joe Migz (drums), and James Lomenzo (bass; ex-MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, WHITE LION), has completed work on its new album, "Judgement", for a late 2010 release via an as-yet-undetermined record label. The CD was produced by Jeff Westlake and Jeff Young, except the song "Right Thing Now", which was produced by Michael Wagener and Jeff Westlake. It was mixed by Jeff Westlake, except "Right Thing Now", which was mixed by Michael Wagener, Jeff Westlake and Julie Westlake.
"Judgement" track listing:
02. Big Star (feat. Doug Pinnick)
03. Self Destruct
05. Rusted Love
06. Gold Dust Woman
07. New Messiah
09. Right Thing Now
10. Lost Reality
Check out the cover artwork below.
Doug Pinnick of KING'S X contributed bass and vocals to the song "Big Star", which is described by Young as "more straight-ahead — maybe if you think of uptempo AC/DC or THE CULT's 'Electric' (1987)-era stuff meets KING'S X. That's the general vibe of 'Big Star' — which is actually a vocal duet. Mr. Doug comes in on selected trade-off lines with Julie, especially in the chorus and the bridge and over the end.
"The song is basically a tale of the difficulties of becoming a professional musician. Actually, it's more difficult now than it's ever been. It's about that long quest; for some it happens, and for others it never happens.
"There's a line in the song that actually references Fuse TV; I don't know if you're aware of this channel, but it's basically the only true music video channel left in America. Actually, the original line referenced MTV and I had to remind Julie that they don't play music videos anymore. (laughs) So, we changed that recurring line to reference Fuse TV. The ever-hot Mistress Juliya VJs on that channel and is one of the hostesses."
Regarding how Doug Pinnick come to contribute bass and vocals to a HYDROGYN tune, Young said, "We're all huge fans of KING'S X, particularly Jeff Westlake and myself," Young explained. "And we're all friends with Michael Wagener, who produced the last two KING'S X albums (2005's 'Ogre Tones' and 2008's 'XV'). Michael connected us with Doug and he was definitely down for it. We sent him the basic track right away, and he loved 'Big Star'. Initially, we only asked him to contribute vocals, but the more I thought about it... Remember, James Lomenzo is playing on every track on 'Judgment'. I went back to James and said, 'We should probably have Doug play bass on this, which will make the whole thing a little bit of a bigger guest spot.' Also a major KING'S X fan, J-Lo was all about that. I asked Doug, and he was totally down for contributing the bass part. He laid his part down and it just sits in the track so well. His groove is amazing and it just really helped to lift 'Big Star' to exactly where it needs to be."
With such a capable, weighty vocalist as Doug Pinnick, many possible avenues can be potentially explored. However, which avenue did Pinnick choose to explore on this specific outing?
"It's classic Doug," Young said. "We told him we wanted his trademark vocal stylings but his vocals are actually a little punchier. He actually roughed it up a little bit here and there, so it's the best of Doug Pinnick with a little tougher attitude. He does some nice little harmonies around Julie and their voices blend very well. There's this two-part harmony he threw in the bridge where we didn't even tell him to sing a line but he added it in there just for fun and it came out really great. It's kind of that bluesy, real simple two-part 'BEATLES-type' harmony. He and Julie also throw down a wailing sustained scream over the end, kind of reminiscent of his ad-libs in 'Over My Head' (from 1989's 'Gretchen Goes to Nebraska')."
A new video blog in which Young, Jeff and Julie discuss the forthcoming album, "Judgement", can be viewed below.