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Ten - Illuminati

by Kevin Burke at 27 December 2018, 7:53 AM

TEN have just released their fourteenth long-player in the highly melodic and inspired “Illuminati”, here they do not disappoint for a one second across the albums engaging ten tracks.  With Gary Hughes once more leading this soundscape from both in front of and behind the mixing desk, creating a symphonic-metal masterpiece while keeping the hook-laden lyrics clever and concise.

Opening with “Be As You Are Forever” we are met with the sounds of nature, bees, birds into a synthesizer lift, here the melodies begin to capture us beautifully.  After a two-minute intro the lash of drums from Max Yates heralds the album coming into its own.  The vocals are of Hughes are typically brilliant and every syllable is punctuated with conviction.  This is indeed the same band he has used for the past number of releases and, so they have become very comfortable with each other and working as a unit. There is the dash of mythical themes which are at the heart of “Illuminati”, a war can be heard at the start of “Shield Wall” before it explodes with fire breathing solos as the rhythm sections leading the charge.

The Esoteric Ocean” is a haunting track again augmented by the keyboards of Darrel Treece-Birch, his work rightly dominates the album, veering slowly into the progressive-rock zone. On this track Hughes vocal is smooth, effortlessly delivered as a choral effect rises and falls.  As the hailing of armies commence “Jericho” a wonderfully-melodic guitar pattern erupts, moving into a nineties-rock sound, but keeping it very much an original concept. “Rosetta Stone” is a beautiful refrain of keyboards and piano, it attempts to build in intensity but instead teases the listener as the hypnotic vocal line drifts and spirals.  Similarly to the title track “Illuminati” which starts with a piano grooving along alone before guitars drums and the world explodes into an assault of energy, a definite highlight that rocks out against the best of them.

Brought out of ancient times with “Exile” and the rumble of motors start into a twisted love song of sorts, excellently delivered and remaining melodic and solid. “Illuminati” closes with a hint of QUEEN in “Of Battles Lost And Won”, a splendor of synth and piano, the raw talent of David Hughes is remarkable, with this band he has really struck gold.  Indeed, not one track of the collection weighs in at under five-minutes, however that is not a bad thing on the part of TEN, there is plenty going on to keep you latched onto the sound and the scope which the band reach for and execute perfectly.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Be As You Are Forever
2. Shield Wall
3. The Esoteric Ocean
4. Jericho
5. Rosetta Stone
6. Illuminati
7. Heaven And The Holier-Than-Thou
8. Exile
9. Mephistopheles
10. Of Battles Lost And Won
Gary Hughes - Vocals/Production
Dann Rosingana - Lead Guitar
Steve Grocott - Lead Guitar
John Halliwell - Rhythm Guitar
Darrel Treece-Birch - Keyboards
Steve McKenna - Bass
Max Yates - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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Edited 08 December 2022

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