Ten-Illuminati Review

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The classic and legendary band Ten are back once more, and this time with a stellar album.

“Be As You Are Forever,” is a fitting opener, the piano work on this song makes it immediately stand out as an anthem that will get the crowd going when performed live. The vocals are on another level, delivering soaring melodies and uplifting words. “Shield Wall,” an anthem of war, with the horrors marked quite clearly, it is something that is going to get the crowd going. “The Esoteric Ocean,” slows things down, bringing out the melodies and ensuring that the listener is kept hooked from the get go. “Jericho,” the first single from the album and a song that brings some interesting melodical arrangements. Delivering trumpets, growing melodical arrangements on the guitars and within the vocals, a true precision masterpiece. “Rosetta Stone,” slows things down. Bringing the piano to the forefront and ensuring the listener is hooked from the get go. An epic anthem.

“Illuminati,” a song with differing time stamps, bringing about a fascinating change here and there, continues the theme present within the earlier songs on the album. It delivers sharp relief, and then brings biting guitars into play. “Heaven and the Holier Than Thou,” is an interesting song, it mixes the relief with the pleasure and drives things forward. “Exile,” a driving song with the moving melody that makes the listener want to tap their foot. “Mephistopheles,” keeps things interesting and somewhat dark, with grooving guitar lines, and a dark, piercing melody on vocals. “Of Battles Lost and Won,” closes things up with some interesting piano work.

The album is out now via Frontiers Music.


Ten Interview


I had the pleasure of interviewing Dann from Ten, to talk about the band, the music world and the new album Gothica:

  1. What inspired the name of the band, and what are your influences?

When the original members were coming up with names they were all given a piece of paper and wrote some ideas down. The name Ten was written down by 2 different members so that became the name. My early influences were Rush, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Ozzy and Judas Priest. More recent ones were Yngwie Malmsteen, Dream Theater, Journey, Vinnie Moore.


  1. Could you talk through the process of recording Gothica? Which tracks should listeners watch out for?

           The process was the same as the last two. Gary gets to the stage where he has the songs and I usually have them for about 2 weeks, listening to them a lot, when I’m in the car or just at home. I always like to sing what the solo should be when I’m listening at first and don’t have the guitar with me. Then during the next 2 weeks I’ll put some ideas down. Although for the final takes I record them with Gary so he can listen back and we can make any little changes. The Grail is probably the heaviest song on the CD and Travellers uses some different sounds for Ten. Welcome To The Freak Show is also  different. I think the album as a whole has a different sound from the others, which isn’t easy due to the amount of albums Gary has made.


  1. How has the band’s approach to writing and recording songs changed over the years?

Its been the same for the 3 albums I’ve been on by each member being able to record parts at home after Gary has sent out the demo. In the earlier days it would have been like most bands, recording the entire tracks in the studio.


  1. Do you think the music industry has changed since you started?

Although I’ve been playing for a long time I’ve only been involved in 3 CDs and with Ten for just over 3 years, so I’ve got into the current state quite late and not got a great deal of experience yet.  One way it has changed is that it’s easier to get your music recorded and out there. When I first started that wasn’t so easy and it was very expensive to record in a top studio to get a really good demo. With the internet now, the contacts, the advertising and the way to promote your band is so different from when I started.


  1. Is there a place you particularly like playing live, or a song you love playing live?

I don’t have a particular favourite place or song really. I just enjoy the challenge of playing well at gigs, which can be tough. The Ten set has lots of different style songs which is good.  Trying to play the songs/solos like the original is always a tough task.


  1. What plans do you have for the future?

I plan to stay with Ten as long the band continues and make more albums. I also hope to improve as a player. I would also like to record some of my original songs eventually. I’m in the process of building a new space for my recording set up that should make all of my plans a lot easier.


Ten-Gothica Review

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Ten started off in 1995, and their delivery of melodic hard rock with intriguing lyrical themes has won them fans across the globe. Their latest album Gothica is their thirteenth, and the first thing one notices about it, is the startling album cover, which invokes imagery seen in a medieval painting or the scene for a mystery movie. Fantastic to look at as the songs play.

The Grail is the opening song on the record, and with its Latin intro, crusader themed lyrics and anthemic verse and choruses alongside heavy riffage it is a brilliant opening track and one that truly makes the listener pay attention. Followed up by the swaggering riffage of Jekyll and Hyde, with its big choruses and ominous themes, two big songs to get the record going. Travellers begins with the tolling of a bell, and a synth background melody, and with soaring vocals, it ensures that the song carries weight and thoughtfulness.

A Man for All Seasons has a harpsichord intro backed by synth lines, before moving into moving drums and solid guitar work. Lyrically, the song appears to be about the reformation within England, and the dissolution of the monasteries and the chaos that brought to England. A stellar historical track. In My Dreams is a pulsating song that makes the head move and the foot tap. Wild King of Winter, inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin, brings minor keys, moving off riffage and solid vocal lines to the core. A brilliant song.  Paragon is a epic, slow and moving piano based track that makes the hair stand up on the back of the neck.

Welcome To The Freak Show appropriately starts with the sound of a fair, before moving into a swaggering, taunting, balls to the walls song with all its propensity and dialect, which makes it a definitive track. La Luna Dracula has a galloping rhythm, a shredding solo and a brilliant chorus that will definitely be a favourite of live audiences. Into Darkness is the final track, slow, heavy and thoughtful it is the perfect closer to a ripper of an album.

Gothica is a classic album, one that contains elements of history, fun and general rock that will make anyone enjoy it. It brings hooks and melodies and heavy riffs, a real classic rock album. A solid ten out of ten.