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Less than two years after returning to something like their old form with their Stormwarning release, Ten have capitalised on renewed interest and a successful mini tour with a new line up with an unexpectedly swift follow up.
The title is typical of Gary Hughes’ ornate lyrical style and after an opening instrumental in The Gates of Jerusalem, Arabian Nights bears all the hallmarks of their best material from the late nineties with epic lyrical themes, Eastern inspired riffs and some rapid but fluent soloing from new guitarist Dan Mitchell. However it is untypical of the rest of the album, which is the most blatantly commercial direction they have taken in a long while. However with excellent songs like Gunrunning and The Lights Go Down, which opened their recent Firefest performance, with Gary’s trademark baritone in fine fettle, that is not a problem.
However this initial quality is not maintained in an oddly paced album which loses momentum with a series of slower or lighter songs in the middle. For every one that works- the almost folk rock feel of Raven’s Eye, or Game of Hearts with some great military drumming, there are others which fall below Gary’s usual high standard, with Right Now and The Last Time rather dull and The Priestess attempting a slightly funkier groove based approach which does not suit Ten at all.
Luckily things pick up later on, with the more up tempo Insatiable and Unbelievable, while closing song The Riddle builds slowly but then beguiles with layers of both piano and synthesiser being added.
The focus is also very much on vocals, lead guitar and at times keyboards with the rhythm section shunted well to the back of the production. In many ways some of the more grandiose and epic Ten trademarks are missing and the album is more in the vein of Gary’s more AOR based solo efforts.
Nevertheless for a band that many considered finished, there is still plenty of life in Ten and the album’s better moments are a great way to get reacquainted with a band who were once melodic rock’s great white hopes.
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Power Plays w/c 8 August 2022 (Mon-Fri)
BORN LOST Take Time (Mouthpiece) (Revolver Records)
JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
SCARLET DORN Born To Suffer (SPV Recordings)
HOLDING ABSENCE Coffin (Sharptone Records)
TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS Get Some (Echoed Past Records)
KROOKED TONGUE When The Beaches Bleed (indie)
SKYPILOT Knifed On The Beach (The Distortion Project)
Featured Albums w/c 8 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LESSMAN VOSS Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. Force Majeure (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS A Very Unusual Head (indie)
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