Ten - Heresy and Creed review
Posted by: Kevin ()
Date: November 19, 2012 09:38AM

still trying to formulate thoughts on the Jimi Jamison album, but here's the Ten review.
Kevin

TEN – HERESY AND CREED REVIEW

It’s amazing how the sequencing of an album can affect first impressions. First time I heard this, my thoughts were that it’s about time for Ten to call it a day. The reason was the mid-album lull in quality and poor sequencing that simply took me out of the album. Second time around, I tried Andrew’s tracklisting and thought to myself “hold on here….let’s not judge this too fast”. Sequencing made all the difference in the world. With the tracks set correctly, the mood changes from song to song without throwing the listener off.

Ten has an interesting history releasing a very good debut with an absolute classic on it (The Loneliest Place in the World). The double cd live release from The Robe tour wasn’t a bad place to get reacquainted, and then here’s also the excellent Bob Catley The Tower release that Ten mainman Gary Hughes wrote. The best place to describe the Ten sound would be the heavier rocking moments of Magnum (think Pray for the Day from the epic Wings of Heaven release as a very close point for the Ten sound), so it’s no surprise that the chance to write for Magnum singer Bob Catley was a perfect mix. That also solved the main issue I’ve always had with Ten—Gary Hughes’ voice. Put a great singer like Catley on the material, and the songs just shined. I still count that album as Hughes’ finest moment, and it stands as one of Catley’s finest also.

Spellbound fixed the vocal problem with Ten somewhat, as you could hear emotion in Hughes’ voice for the first time, and you really started to hear Gary find his way vocally. After the Far Beyond the World cd, I thought the songwriting slackened a bit and the band started sounding like it was repeating itself in dire need of a producer (or some self-restraint—ie The Twilight Chronicles), and then came the extended absence and some questionable choices that did not endear the band to the fanbase. The return with Stormwarning had its moments, but there are still some tracks that I haven’t warmed to. One year later, Gary Hughes and company are back with album #10, so here we go.

TRACK BY TRACK
The Gates of Jerusalem is the intro that kicks off into suitably dramatic fashion before the Middle Eastern guitar strains of Arabian Nights signal the return of Ten. Pretty much your classic Ten epic rocker with a big chorus.

The rocking continues with Gunrunning, which is not a song about illegal arms but a play on words. This one has a pretty strong pop edge underneath the rocking, which is down just a hair from the previous song. Big chorus here.

The Lights Go Down turns the tempo back about one notch, and a little bit of a breather. Still, it’s fairly rocking with the big epic chorus you’d expect. So far, so good—and well sequenced up to this point.

Raven’s Eye is the first ballad, but in that moody style that Gary Hughes has done with both Ten and especially Bob Catley. Similar in style to Fear of the Dark from Catley’s The Tower album. Works well with Hughes singing, but I’d love to hear Bob have a go at this one. Pretty cool, but I think it needed some separation from the opening rocking blitz.

Right Now starts off with sounding like Ten has transformed into Mannheim Steamroller. Soon enough, the Ten sound starts with a slower verse that transforms into this mid-tempo rocker with some heavy guitar riffing in the background. Almost hearing a bit of the Tearing My Heart Out style, but the chorus underwhelms. Too bad as the rest of the song is appealing. Here’s where the track sequencing really starts to veer off in the wrong direction.

Game of Hearts is a track I originally struggled with. Heavy guitars and this fast drum beat makes one think this is a big rocker, but then the guitars disappear, and the song turns into this high-tech very poppy rocker. This would have fit well on Hughes’ solo album Veritas--probably better, actually. I like the verse better than the chorus, but it’s a grower.

The Last Time is ballad #2. Not sure it works well at this point as it sounds more like a song you’d find towards the end of an album, but moody, moody, moody.

With The Priestess, the album hits the low point. Rocking, but sounds like the song you’d hear at a strip club. Skip.

Insatiable is another rocker with some questionable lyrics. Not sure I would have kept this one, even though there are some redeeming qualities. By this point, most first time listeners will have lost interest in the album, and that’s sad because one of the best songs of the album is coming up next.

Another Rainy Day is a textbook AOR song with a nice verse leading into an incredibly catchy chorus that is immediate and familiar….and that’s the problem—it’s too familiar. The melody for the first part of that chorus is a duplicate of Lady Antebellum’s I Need You Now. Not sure how this happened with no one paying attention, but I suspect the other band’s lawyers could have a field day over demanding writer’s credit. You can easily sing the other song’s lyrics over top without changing the melody—it’s that close. Controversy aside, the rest of the chorus and song goes in a different direction, and there is a beautiful piano and guitar solo. It really is one of the best songs on offer—just too bad about that chorus, which as good as it is, has already been released.

Back to the rocking with Unbelievable. Solid, if not spectacular.

The Riddle ends the album on your typical Hughes/Ten piano-led sentimental power ballad with some nice vocals. Very nice.

The Japanese bonus track, I Found Love is another sentimental piano ballad that Gary Hughes seems to turn out without effort, and a nice addition to the album. Unlike most, this one stays soft throughout.


THOUGHTS & RUMINATIONS

Despite the initial thoughts upon first playback, this is a pretty solid album. The major problem is the middle album track sequencing that tends to group the least appealing songs together, then throws a few good songs in but totally out of sequence. Some of the best songs are buried deep in the album, and with the sequencing, it’s very likely that some people will not stay with the album long enough for those songs to reveal their charms.

If you take Andrew’s revised tracklisting however, everything seems to fit in place much better. By ejecting a few songs (The Priestess, Right Now), and adding the Japan bonus track to end everything, most of the flaws of the album are fixed.

I doubt this album is going to change anyone’s opinion of Ten. If you liked the band before, you’ll probably like them now. If you were never a fan, it’s unlikely that anything here will sway you to the fray.

My main issue (other than some songs included and the sequencing) is that Ten is often over-produced to the point that everything sounds nice and smooth and leaving none of the rough edges remaining. Spellbound was maybe the only album that kept the rough, and there is a life in that album that few of the other albums have managed. Sometimes, less is more. It’s not changing though, so I might as well get used to it.

In the end, I’d rate the regular version about even with Stormwarning, and the revised edition up with the better half of the Ten albums.

Album Rating: 73
Andrew’s Best Of Version: 79

To interpret scoring numbers:
Below 70…..needs work
70…..average. Good and bad points.
80. Solid, if not spectacular.
90+ future classic. Very rare to see stuff in this category.
(for scores more in line with Andrew’s current system, add 10 points to the score given)



SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
Ten - Heresy and Creed review572 Kevin 11/19/2012 09:38AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 173 Tom G 11/20/2012 01:05AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 150 the ORIGINAL brent 11/20/2012 12:10PM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 97 the ORIGINAL brent 11/20/2012 12:14PM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 104 Tom G 11/21/2012 12:34AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 97 Kevin 11/21/2012 04:32AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 81 the ORIGINAL brent 11/21/2012 08:30AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 84 Kevin 11/21/2012 04:24AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 96 Tom G 11/21/2012 05:48AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 105 Kevin 11/21/2012 06:35AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 93 Tom G 11/21/2012 06:44AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 80 Kevin 11/21/2012 07:10AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 90 Tom G 11/21/2012 09:02AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 97 Rockhead1 11/20/2012 11:42PM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 93 Cressy 11/21/2012 06:53AM
Re: Ten - Heresy and Creed review 73 Kevin 11/21/2012 07:14AM


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