Album Reviews
Band: Ten

Title: Gothica

Label: Frontiers Music Srl

'Gothica' is the thirteenth release from the Gary Hughes fronted band Ten.  A band that over the years have seen some ebbs and flows it's career, from not only a line-up band front and critics, but also on the fan front.

The fans being some of the most critical over the years, with their fans seemingly demanding such high quality releases with set formulas and sounds.

But Gary Hughes has always defended each album and to be honest it's his band to do with what he wills.

Now the band have been in high over recent years, with three albums off the belt receiving critical and fan acclaim.  Now in 2017, the band return to Frontiers Music for this latest chapter in the Ten story 'Gothica'.

To be honest I think this has be the bands best album to date, as Hughes is joined once again by guitar players Dann Rosingana, Steve Grocott and John Halliwell.  Along with bass player Steve McKenna, keyboard Maestro Darrel Treece-Birch and drummer Max Yates.

This the third album with this line-up makes for a more secure foundation and this is reflected in the album, from the opener ‘The Grail’, where we are taken back to the splendour of the band's early albums, as they once again bring that almost Cinematic Rock element back to forefront.

The album continues its dark path with the wonderful ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.  A mid-tempo rocker that grips you from the opening cords and the mix of three guitars doesn’t flood the sound, as the trinity of six strings just adds to over splendour of the track.

‘Travellers’ is up next, as the clock chimes fade the opening keyboard flurry set up the track wonderfully well, as Hughes unleashes one of those trademark soulful vocals that has never faded.  His vocals never seem to be forced, he just has that soulful edge that was made for this genre of music.

It's back to the epics with ‘A Man for All Seasons'.  This one starts off with an almost folkish refrain but gently and gradually builds, then a huge bass line and flurry of guitars explodes as this one takes on a whole new life.  The tale depicting the final years of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England, who refused to sign a letter asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII of England's marriage to Catherine of Aragon and refused to take an Oath of Supremacy, declaring Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England.  If my history lessons at school were put into song, then maybe would have taken more attention. 

‘In My Dreams’ returns to the more traditional melodic rock as we take a somewhat biographical look at Hughes early life as young man immersed in a world of fantasy.  The geek in us all can relate to this one, as today’s trend in fantasy shows the geek in us all will have his day.

It's back to another Hughes fantasy history lesson with ‘The Wild King of Winter’.  A superb track that has trademark Ten with the darker edges that dominates the album.  It's back to the harmony filled splendour with ‘Paragon’, before things return to the dark side with the excellent macabre world of ‘Welcome to the Freakshow’, a song that just rocks it up big style.

The dark rocking continues with band taking on Bram Stokers fable with the excellent ‘La Luna Dra-Cu-La’, before the album closes in style with ‘Into The Darkness’, an apt closer as this depicts the tales of failing movie Starlets, something that this Cinematic epic release will never do.

'Gothica' for me is the best Ten album in years.  Since their reformation and the three strong albums prior, 'Gothica' shows Hughes and Ten are back and back big style.

Review by: Barry McMinn

 

Tracklisting:

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 Freak Show
9.  La Luna Dra-cu-la
10. Into Darkness

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