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Ten – Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 February 2023, 10:05 AM

From Frontiers Music’s webpage, “UK hard rock stalwarts TEN used the downtime during the worldwide pandemic to work on not one, but two new albums. The first album to be released, "Here Be Monsters", landed on February 18, 2022 via Frontiers Music Srl. And now, the label is pleased to announce the second album of the two, "Something Wicked This Way Comes" on January 20, 2023. Hughes was joined once again by guitarists Dann Rosingana, Steve Grocott and John Halliwell along with bass player Steve McKenna, keyboard maestro Darrel Treece-Birch and drummer Markus Kullman for the recording of "Something Wicked This Way Comes". The album has ten songs.

“Look for the Rose” is the first. It begins with spoked word warnings, before the mid-tempo riff comes in with keys. Gary doesn’t have a really high voice like a lot of AOR bands do, but it is very controlled and works with the music. Keys are fairly high in the mix also. “Brave New Lie” swings with a slow and sexy groove. The chorus is a little thin but the vocal harmonies are there, and it’s followed by a tasteful guitar solo. “The Tidal Wave” was the first single I heard in advance of the album, and it is glorious. The harmonies in the chorus are somewhat subtle but the melodies shine bright.

“Parabellum” has a smooth keyboard sound. The song is melodic but the pacing is similar to previous songs. I have stated many times that too many songs with the same slow/mid-tempo pace can ground an album. The title track is long, beginning with sweet keyboard notes and vocals. From there, it swings with a dark sound of warning, with plenty of harmonies in the chorus. “The Fire and the Rain” is another winner, much like “The Tidal Wave.” The sound is positive and somewhat gentle, and melody emanates from both the verses and the chorus. “New Hope” begins with glittering piano notes, and has the early structure of a ballad. Before you say “no,” remember that we Metalheads loved ballads in the 80’s, and looked forward to at least one on every album. This one is no exception, and is sweet and sugary.

“The Only Way Out” is another winner, with a positive sound and a big punch of melody in the chorus. I love the subtle way they deliver them too, almost as if casually pulling them from their hip pocket. “When Darkness Comes” has another sweet sound, though a bit cloudy at times. They ride a fine line between darkness and hope in this song. “The Greatest Show on Earth” closes the album. It has a grand quality to it, as the title suggests. But it also has a bit of a downer note as well. I figured a closing song would be all energy and all drive, but oh, well. Overall, this was a good album to listen to. Nothing necessarily ground breaking mind you, but many of those albums in the genre were done decades ago. The album has a nice mix of melody, positive tones, and some lamenting ones as well…a little something for everyone.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Look for the Rose
2. Brave New Lie
3. The Tidal Wave
4. Parabellum
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes
6. The Fire and the Rain
7. New Found Hope
8. The Only Way Out
9. When Darkness Comes
10. The Greatest Show on Earth
Gary Hughes – Vocals
Dann Rosingana – Guitar
Steve Grocott – Guitar
John Halliwell - Guitar
Steve McKenna – Bass
Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards
Markus Kullman – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Music


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