Ten offers their eleventh album, Albion, in their near twenty year existence. Vocalist and songwriter Gary Hughes and his band of English merry men never seem to disappoint, delivering another album of classic AOR melodic hard rock. You won't be disappointed.
Hughes and company's consistency borders on melodic rock wizardry. One wonders where Hughes begins a song's gestation process. Does it begin with lyrics, a melody, a vocal melody at that, maybe a riff, or maybe a larger, though abstract, musical concept that develops in the studio. Methinks it may be some combination of the first three elements. Whatever it is, it works, and works well.
Ten draws you in with a breadth and depth of sound, nearly bombastic, nearing melodic metal. There's hooks, groove, and simply some damn fine catchy melodies, vocal harmonies, and refrains. The song craftsmanship is both subtle and compelling, nearly effortless. For instance, Sometimes Love Takes The Long Way Home and Die For Me, while seemingly polar opposites, one a ballad, the other a churning rocker with heavy riffs, brew with a steadiness that weaves all instruments together with hypnotic ease. While the vocal arrangement and refrain aren't as large in those, they are bold and unavoidable in both Alone In The Dark and, the immensely groovy, It's Alive. It's Hughes at his best.
And so also with It Ends This Day, where we return to that aforementioned theory: melody, vocal harmony, and lyrics form and guide the song. But then there's those riffs, solid bass line, and persistent drums. Well, shit, I guess it's just about the perfect blend of the all the best elements Ten can muster in a single song. Conversely, or alternatively maybe, I didn't get that feeling with the closing number Wild Horses. The first half moves slowly, not quite grabbing me, except for those drums, but gets better in the latter half. It seems to turn more on grinding, burly, riffs and a heavy bottom end. Not so much a bad thing, but not my favorite song.
Nevertheless, like any Ten album, it's all good, with great songs and no filler, superb musicianship, and massive production. Oh yeah, did I mention the guitar solos basically kick ass, and mixing was handled by Dennis Ward. Yeah, that guy. Albion is another accomplished and entertaining album of AOR melodic hard rock from Gary Hughes and Ten.
Albion is another accomplished and entertaining album of AOR melodic hard rock from Gary Hughes and Ten.
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