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Ten - Gothica

by Stew Metallion Taylor at 25 September 2017, 4:09 PM

Manchester UK Melodic Rock veterans TEN return with their thirteenth studio album “Gothica”. The band have been around since the early 90’s but had a hiatus between 2007-2010. Once signed to major label Mercury, TEN shifted some serious units. The band now have a new multi-album deal with Melodic Rock specialist label Frontiers Records.

This album is smooth as silk. The musicianship is at the highest level and melodic to the hilt. It reminds me of MAGNUM in their late 80’s commercial phase. This is a mix of Pomp Rock, Progressive Rock and Melodic Rock. Back in the 80’s, in my teenage Thrash years, I probably wouldn’t get through the whole of this type of album. However, now I appreciate all forms of Rock and Metal, I enjoyed this collection.

“The Grail” opens the album with a chant vocal, pulsing keyboards and tuneful soloing before the main vocals kick in. Main man, Gary Hughes, has the sort of voice you could listen to all day. A real story-telling style of vocals. “Jeckyll and Hyde” has a very 80’s Pop-Prog sound similar to IT BITES. There are some great layered guitars on this track. The band has three guitarists so there is no shortage of nice layered guitar action. One standout for me is “Man for all Seasons” which is about Henry VIII and tearing down monasteries. The guitars are superb on this with a driving riff. This is a bit more Metal.

“In My Dreams” is different again and almost BRYAN ADAMS territory. A good catchy straight-ahead Rocker and another stand out song. It quotes various sci-fi/ horror characters in a story about growing up. The horror theme really gets going on “La Luna Dra-cu-la” with its mystical tale of castles, trees, mist, and escape from La Luna Dra-cu-la. This a Metal song with a catchy chorus. The riffs and licks are Metallic and the keyboards are driving. There are three guitars riffing away nicely and the vocals are spot on. The soloing is an air-guitar opportunity for sure.

Each track is different with a lot of special effect sounds to enhance the themes. “The Wild King of Winter” is a highlight with a string sound intro and then a meaty riff and driving rhythm. Another historical tale with interesting lyrics. The riffing is Metallic again mid-way with excellent supporting guitar licks. The keyboards on this track work well, taking a starring role towards the end.

The best aspect of this album is the variation in the tracks, making the collection memorable. The vocals are super-melodic. However, on repeat listen there are lots of great riffs and guitar work-outs to keep Metal fans happy as-well as the Melodic Rock fraternity. Hopefully TEN can get this album out to a wider audience and take this out on the road. There is a strong scene for this style of Rock and TEN deserves credit for such a strong album.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Grail
2. Jekyll And Hyde
3. Travellers
4. Man For All Seasons
5. In My Dreams
6. The Wild King Of Winter
7. Paragon
8. Welcome To The Freakshow
9. La Luna Dra-cu-la
10. Into The Darkness
Gary Hughes - Lead Vocal
Steve McKenna - Bass
Steve Grocott - Lead Guitar
Dann Rosingana - Lead Guitar
Darrel Treece-Birch - Keyboards
Max Yates – Drums
John Halliwell- Rhythm Guitar
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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