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Ten: Stormwarning
Ten Stormwarning album new music review

Ten: Stormwarning

AOR/Melodic (Hard) Rock
4.5/5.0

From a near death experience, almost expiring in 2007, Ten and founder/vocalist Gary Hughes returns with their ninth studio album Stormwarning. With Hughes, longtime members John Helliwell (g) and Paul Hodson (k) return to the fold as well. The band is completed and significantly bolstered by Neil Fraser on lead guitars and Mark Sumner on bass; additionally Mark Zonder (Fates Warning) guests behind the skins, and uber-producer Dennis Ward would mix and produce Stormwarning. With this crew and the strong song content, Stormwarning is a fine resurrection for this band.

Across the entirety of Stormwarning you will find AOR melodic hard rock, sometimes heavy but never oppressive. Actually, between the song arrangements and the production this is one best 'sounding' albums I've heard this year. The opener Endless Symphony bristles with infectious melody and near progressive nuances: it's an excellent beginning. It's a preview of what's to come. Many songs are deceptive in their ability to charm your ears. Centre of My Universe, Kingdom Come, and curiously infectious The Hourglass and the Landslide show Hughes and company at their very best: melodic, entertaining, and persuasive. While the second half of Stormwarning may seem slower or lighter to some listeners, the ballads Love Song and the The Wave, again, display Ten's versatility and deftness. Even weaker songs like the title track or Destiny are attractive.

To Hughes performance, he inspires on every cut. Yet, he shines most on Endless Symphony, Kingdom Come, Love Song, and the absolutely brilliant Book of Secrets. Here Hughes combines his rock chops with a passionate soulful sensibility: sort of Jeff Scott Soto meets David Coverdale in the very best sense. While Hughes' vocals (and the vocal arrangements) are clean, strong, and convincing, he's nearly upstaged by new guitarist Neil Fraser. His fret work is both sound and creative, delivering some real fireworks throughout Stormwarning.

There is much to commend and little to pan on Stormwarning. However, several songs seemed to be unnecessarily long: both Endless Symphony and Centre of My Universe, to name too, wrap up with nearly infinite repetitions of the chorus. Thankfully, Fraser is given more moments to flex in these situations, and makes the extra time worth your time.

For a resurrection, Hughes and company have breathed fresh life into Ten with Stormwarning: total AOR melodic rock ear candy. Strongly recommended.




CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

In Short

For a resurrection, Hughes and company have breathed fresh life into Ten with Stormwarning: total AOR melodic rock ear candy. Strongly recommended.

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