Ten - Illuminati

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-2018

Here at Glory Daze, some of us have tended to use certain bands as punching bags during their careers, mine has been this lot: Ten.

Ten - Illuminati
ALBUM: Illuminati
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2018

LINEUP: Gary Hughes - vocals, guitars, backing vocals * Dann Rosingana - lead guitars * Steve Grocott - lead guitars * John Halliwell - rhythm guitars * Darrel Treece-Birch - keyboards, programming * Steve Mckenna - bass * Max Yates - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Be As You Are Forever * 02 Shield Wall * 03 The Esoteric Ocean * 04 Jericho * 05 Rosetta Stone * 06 Illuminati * 07 Heaven And The Holier-Than-Thou * 08 Exile * 09 Mephistopheles * 10 Of Battles Lost And Won * 11 Rosetta Stone (Remix)

RATING: image


Here at Glory Daze, some of us have tended to use certain bands as punching bags during their careers. Dangerzone for instance, has often sharpened his virtual pen toward Iron Maiden, Saxon and Megadeth, and rightly so.

My favourite target has mostly been British band Ten, who after an encouraging start to their career some 20 years ago, have become a victim of their own self indulgence.. My previous recent articles on Ten have been scathing to put it mildly. Just how this band can command a record deal while other more talented acts can't - remains a mystery to me. What is going on here?

Ten bandpic

The Songs

I've said it numerous times before, this band create an environment around them which screams progressive metal amid all manner of fantasy and sci-fi related content. Instead of an all-out bludgeon with the power of Thor's mighty hammer, we get handed a wilted rose and a box of chocolates.

The dreary string work preceding 'Be As You Are Forever' reminds me of all those Iron Maiden epics that followed a similar format, which inevitably bored everyone to sleep. Admittedly, the song comes to life eventually, as you expect from a song about war and soldiers. Come on. The audio of a battle scene comes through at the start of 'Shield Wall'. Is this Saxon's 'Crusader' revisited? Who listens to this stuff anymore?

'Jericho' was released as the advance single back in September, and again we get more windswept vistas and a fanfare of horns like back in the era of Middle East history. This song should be steeped in dark atmosphere but the music for this is just the polar opposite. Happy, bouncy.. oh dear, face palm. The ballad 'Rosetta Stone' bored the pants of me, I was nearly going to apply the description to the title track 'Illuminati', but cutting guitars were a welcome invite. Gary Hughes is too nice a bloke to be singing this sort of stuff. Hardly convincing.

'Mephistopheles' is my pick of the album, which wasn't too difficult a choice really, the closer 'Of Battles Lost And Won' was a just a string laden ballad and at nearly six minutes, you'll be asking for your time back. If there is one redeeming feature it's the cover art. It looks like something out of the movie National Treasure featuring Nicholas Cage.

In Summary

Some parts stuck, most parts didn't. Some of the lead guitar is good, but most of it ended up as inane noodling. All of the songs were far too long and laborious. Not quite to the depth of an Iron Maiden, but still, you get the picture. Maybe in future I should just stop writing about this lot because they don't seem to be improving.

Tell that to the die hard fans, mostly in England where it seems they can do no wrong. Maybe we are all living in an alternate reality where the sublime becomes the ridiculous? If you believe that, then you'll probably enjoy the nonsense which is on offer here. I shake my head in disbelief.

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    Personally i like Ten. I've been following them since the very beginning and they have certainly released some real classy albums in the past. I understand Geovian's point of view surrounding the last batch of albums. Personally i think the main problem here is the absence of Vinnie burns on guitars. His playing was very melodic and when it was riffing time.....All hell breaks loose!!!.
    In my opinion i think Ten's era with Vinnie was their best without a doubt, it seems like now Gary gives more priority to the epicness of the songs and leaves aside the melodies which were a hallmark of this band in the past.
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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia
    Yes Rob you are right. We probably need to get to those first three Ten albums. Another task, if just to even up the balance of this band.
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    The review is maybe a little harsh but I never got Ten. I absolutely agree that they delivered so much less than they promise and for me the dynamics are all wrong with guitars, keys and vocals all slavishly following each other around.

    Bizarrely I really like the Bob Catley albums Glenn Hughes wrote but Ten just always left me cold. I had the first three albums and another couple of later ones (because people kept telling me I was missing out) and ended up giving them to a friend for nothing.
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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia
    Harsh yes, but consistently so. They absolutely deserve it.
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    *I meant Gary Hughes... obviously...
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