Album Reviews

Ten – Albion Review

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Released by: Rocktopia/Cargo Records

Release Date: November 24, 2014 (World)

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock

Links: Ten Official Site

 

Line Up:

Gary Hughes – Vocals, Guitars, Programming
Dann Rosingana – Guitars
Steve Grocott – Guitars
John Halliwell – Guitars
Steve Mckenna – Bass Guitars
Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards
Max Yates – Drums and Percussion

 

Tracklist:

1. ALONE IN THE DARK TONIGHT
2. BATTLEFIELD
3. IT’S ALIVE
4. ALBION BORN
5. SOMETIMES LOVE TAKES THE LONG WAY HOME
6. A SMUGGLER’S TALE
7. DIE FOR ME (First Single Release)
8. IT ENDS THIS DAY
9. GIOCO D’AMOURE
10. WILD HORSES

 

It’s amazing to think that 18 years has elapsed since Ten released their début album ‘X‘ and the immediate follow up the same year ‘The Name of The Rose‘. Since then some stunning albums have come from this remarkably talented band centred around lead singer and ring master Gary Hughes. A successful run of releases including ‘The Robe‘, ‘Spellbound‘ and ‘Babylon‘ saw each album attain acclaim from both fans and critics alike. Numerous line up changes and differing musical styles following ‘Babylon‘ resulted in mixed reviews and as we fast forward to 2014, there is a buzz in the air and whispered suggestion that ‘Albion‘ returns to the classic Ten style of old and will once again please fan and critic equally.

The good news is that this is indeed the case. From opening track ‘Alone In The Dark Tonight’ through to closer ‘Wild Horses’ the whole album feels instantly at home to any Ten fan. Gary Hughes production and the mixing and mastering by Dennis Ward (Unisonic, Sunstorm, Place Vendome, Pink Cream 69 and more) have enabled all 7 band members to shine individually without stepping on each other and highlighting the appropriate instrumentation / musician at exactly the right time. In addition it would be wrong to pass up the opportunity to comment on the album cover as well. Ten have always made a point of producing some amazing artwork for their albums and this is no exception. The artwork this time is provided by Gaetano Di Falco. It’s a cover that warrants a vinyl release for sure but more on that later!

Alone In The Dark Tonight’ sees a solid rhythm built under the song from Steve Mckenna and Max Yates and some wonderful harmonies from Gary and the rest of the band on the chorus. The track immediately warrants the whole album to be listened to on a good set of headphones, with your life put to one side so that you can soak up the intricacies of what has been put together. A good friend of mine frequently describes Gary Hughes as a poet rather than ‘just’ a song writer and it’s easy to see why. The lyrics and the style in which Hughes delivers them on the album helps paint a landscape that draws the listener into the heart of the song. Combine this with the excellent musicianship and album artwork and you get the complete package that purists will eagerly lap up.

The trio of guitarists, Dann Rosingana, Steve Grocott and of course mainstay John Halliwell are all given opportunity to shine. This is no more apparent than on ‘Albion Born’ which for me is one of the album’s highlights. Similarly, the guitars wail with emotion at the beginning of ‘A Smugglers Tale’ which brings to mind ‘Spellbound’ era Ten. ‘Wild Horses’ , which wraps up the album, also finishes in style with great guitar breaks, sublime keyboard \ piano playing and to close out the last few seconds a heartbeat. Another reason why the headphones work so well.

Nearly all of the tracks come in at 5 minutes plus and this allows each song to build and tell its own individual story. And what stories they are. Gary Hughes has long had the ability to compose complex opuses and maintains a high level of control over the whole process. A recent comment from  Darrel Treece-Birch confirms, “I just play what the boss has already written for me. I embellish bits here and there but lest we forget its all G’s work”. 

Credit then to Mr Hughes for not only composing ‘Albion‘ but  also for finding the right band members to help deliver what is one of Ten’s best albums to date. A welcome return to what they do best.

 

Written by Adrian

Ratings    Adrian 10/10

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As mentioned above, there will also be an ‘Albion’ vinyl release, a first for Ten fans. It will be double album gatefold, and come with the following contents:

  • Eight A5 full colour postcards, 7 solo shots of all the band members, and one full band shot.
  • Each solo shot will be PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED by that band member.
  • A full colour 22×22 inch poster of the amazing Gaetano Di Falco ‘Albion’ cover.
  • Two full colour stickers: one of the album cover (10x10cm) and one of the TEN logo (10x8cm)
  • A highly detailed TEN guitar pick (shown both sides for display purposes only)
  • Full colour inner album sleeves with lyrics.

This product is strictly LIMITED to 300 copies and will not be re-printed.

Pre-Order here: http://www.firefestofficial.com/site/index.php/rocktopiarecords/115-ten-albion

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