The British Melodic Hard Rock band TEN unveiled today the new music video from their brand new (14th) studio album entitled “Illuminati”, which was released on the 9th of November, 2018 via Frontiers Records.
Gary Hughes (Vocals)
Dann Rosingana (Lead Guitars)
Steve Grocott (Lead Guitars)
John Halliwell (Rhythm Guitars)
Darrel Treece-Birch (Keyboards)
Steve McKenna (Bass)
Max Yates (Drums)
Hot on the heels of last year’s “Gothica”, UK hard rock stalwarts TEN/Gary Hughes are returning with a new album, “Illuminati”! The album promises to be one of the hallmarks of their 22+ years career, where fans will easily spot all the trademark textures and flavors they have come to expect from TEN, with a consistent and solid spark of creativity throughout. “Illuminati” continues to build upon the rich legacy that the great British rockers have established in their 20+ year career.
“Illuminatii” was produced by Gary Hughes and mixed and mastered by Dennis Ward. TEN’s longstanding professional association with Dennis has been ongoing since he mixed their 2011 album, “Stormwarning” and has always guaranteed albums with stunning sound and production.
1. Be As You Are Forever
2. Shield Wall
3. The Esoteric Ocean
5. Rosetta Stone
7. Heaven And The Holier-Than-Thou
10. Of Battles Lost And Won
For the last 20+ years TEN have been one of the most ‘criminally under rated’ sometimes brutally overlooked bands within progressive melodic metal communities and even the AOR community. This band first entered my radar with 2000’sSpellbound and 2001’s Far Beyond The World. All I could fixate my interest on was the beautifully eloquent yet very versatile lead vocals of Gary Hughes. Both Spellbound & Far Beyond The World made me a instant fan of any work related to Gary Hughes. A little later on I would come across a very well written and produced Rock/Metal Opera created by Gary Hughes titled One And Future King Parts 1 & 2.From that point on I was totally sold as a fan of Gary Hughes.
It seems TEN has been a very white hot band within the last five years. First they would release both the critical and fan approved Albion in 2014, Isla De Muerta 2015 and The Dragon And St. George EP in 2015. Now in 2017 the band makes yet another triumphant return with their heaviest and darkest album since The Twilight Chronicles and The Robe that album being Gothica. This also marks TEN’s triumphant return to Frontiers Records srl.
In TEN Gary Hughes has managed to successfully surround himself with a lot of the top melodic metal/rock, AOR talent in the world. Joining Gary Hughes is Dann Rosingana – Lead Guitars , Steve Grocott – Lead Guitars , John Halliwell – Rhythm Guitars , Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards , Steve McKenna – Bass , Max Yates – Drums. This lineup here manages to keep TEN well balanced between its main elements of progressive metal, melodic metal, hard rock, AOR. These lineup also has been proven one of the most consistent lineups serving the needs of the band while satisfying a global fan base that seems to grow more and more with every album and tour.
TEN’s Gothica is a darker more seductive album lyrically. This is matched in harmony to many of the darker heavier instrumental portions that accompany the lyrical content from track to track. TEN also put the ‘Adult’ inside of AOR or Adult Oriented Rockwith their lyrical content that is so racy and laden with sensual innuendo’s. I am shocked they have not had a Parental Advisory label placed on the front of their albums. TEN also have had the uncanny ability to match their album cover art with the melodic content that lies within each album. Now I am will point out some highlights from every track.
The Grail starts out with the lead vocal serving in the capacity of a chant. Soon the twin lead guitar riffs along with the keyboards open the track up with a wonderful wall of sound. The guitars take this track in many different chord progressions and time signatures. The riffs carry the track with the big bass/drum rhythm section. Gary Hughes gives the listener the appearance he is singing with a isolated vocal in harmony with the instrumental portion of the track. One of the unsung heroes to this particular track is Steve McKenna – Bass & Max Yates – Drums giving the track a lot of teeth and bite where the rhythm guitar and the twin lead guitar’s can take root on this melodious canvas. About the 4:40 mark the drums really anchor another isolated lead vocal section to allow the lyrical content of the story to come through smoothly. Their is a spiritual element in the lyrical content. Darrel Teece Birch – Keyboards actually incorporates a beautiful grand piano sound to the track. The Grail is the epic of the album clocking in at 8:03
Jekyll And Hyde is obviously a story of two personalities within one person. This starts out with the sound of someone walking the brick streets before being engulfed in a strong unified rhythm section between all instruments involved. The lead guitar bleeds through from time to time to add accent to the heavily induced rhythm section. The lyrical content is seriously dark much like the title of track itself. The lead vocals are more soulful on the track. The piano adds a classical element in certain places on the song. The rest of the song is a straight away hard rock song.
Travelers starts out with a sound effect of a clock tower both ringing and tick toking giving the track a subtle sense of urgency with the listener. The lyrical content talks about time and how humans have used it in both our lives and our travels. About the 1:05 mark the track explodes into a heavy wall of sound with a big guitar and bass/drum section. The lead vocals keep getting stronger with every song and Travelers serves as a great example of them. Much in the tradition of hard rock there are towering guitar solo’s serving as transitions within the song.
Man For All Seasons begins in a very traditional folky renaissance chord progression much like what would of been heard in the 16th century Europe. It gives the appearance that a king has returned home to his castle and kingdom. This track takes away a lot from Gary Hughes early work with 2003’s Once And Future King Parts 1&2. The folky passage in soon joined by a straight away hard rock chord progression passage. The lyrical content even speaks of a a era ruled by King Henry. The twin lead guitar and the stringed section gives the song some extra fire. The track maintains a very steady and progressive melodic metal chord progression. This track builds layer upon layers subtlety and gradually. Both twin lead guitar’s very fluently back off one another in their solo’s as if they are communicating back and forth.
In My Dreams starts out with a thunderous rhythm section that meets the senses of the listener immediately. There is also a noticeable method to the madness with the open intro. This track has a lot of the AOR elements you would find in a film to a 1980’s soundtrack. Lyrically it is a risque style love story perhaps by a adolescent with a hard crush on a girl or full grown adult woman for that matter. The twin lead guitar solo’s really play off one another giving the stringed portion of the track a deeper level of fullness.
The Wild King Of Winter opens up very atmospheric with steady keyboards and lush guitars to form a semi electric/semi acoustic landscape allowing for the listener to be enveloped within the song. It soon takes off with a blistering straight ahead dark heavy guitar. This is one of those tracks that make Gothica darker than the last few previous TEN albums. The heavy instrumental portion gives the listener the appearance that there is this great conflict about to happen or is in progress. The riffs are also straight away galloping riffs that remind much of early NWOBHM sound. The thunderous rhythm section remains pretty consistent throughout the song providing both heaviness and depth.
Paragon lyrically talks about virtue or the lack thereof. This track is another one of those with lyrical content that put ‘Adult’ into Adult Oriented Rock or AOR. The opening starts with a beautiful piano in harmony with a isolated vocal that opens the story up for the listener. This song can be looked upon as a power ballad with some heavy elements within the guitars and full rhythm section, all that can be heard very well. With all the erotica and love elements there is still a darker under layer in the song.
Welcome To The Freakshow starts out like you might expect it, a total circus. The opening is as if the listener becomes a audience member in the town circus. This would be a adult circus. Once again there are some heavy erotica elements. This track here is also a great testament of how Gary Hughes & TEN can tell several stories within the album construct. Although there may be a common theme present every song has its own uniquely written, recorded and melodiously articulated story. Welcome To The Freakshow is a perfect example to this. The song even gets a little bluesy and gritty the further along it goes.
La – Luna Dra -cu – la opens up with a heavy chord progressive passage with big rhythm guitars in harmony with the bass/drum rhythm section. The twin lead guitars continue to add depths and layers. It also opens with very dark elements which are appropriate due to the very nature of the title. Some of the lyrical content is reminiscent of a Bram Stoker novel meets a Boris Karloff film. The guitar solo’s are a bit nasty yet groove laden. This track is also more into the melodic heavy metal genre. The band pulls no punches and spares no expense being intentionally heavy on this one. There is still a erotic tone through the song as well.
Into Darkness opens up with a sound effect much like a film projector inside a cinema. The track opens up musically with a beautiful piano of Darrel Treece Birch. This song is a all out heavy power rock ballad. It soon picks up and takes various twists and turns into heavier dimensions and breaks and comes back to the power ballad element. The vocals are isolated perfectly as to allow the story to harmoniously be articulated towards its target audience. The beautiful twin lead guitar solo’s really stand out in the production as well.
Paragon (Bonus Mix) – Japanese Version Only this track is a more user audience friendly version that is only on the Japanese version. It is also edited down considerably from the album version to be radio friendly also. There is more heavy keyboard atmospheres present here as well.
TEN’s Gothica is the perfect album for their return to Frontiers Records srl. There is a little bit of every element the band has utilized over its 20+ years in the business. Once again Gary Hughes surrounds himself with some of the top musicians in the world to carry out such fantastic vision. Gothica also proves that melodic heavy metal and AOR can also have a darker heavier appeal to attract a much larger audience. TEN’s Gothica gets a 5/5for staying true to their vision and values their fans and audience members have come to expect.
Melodic hard rock band TEN has announced they will release their new album “Gothica”on July 7, 2017 via Frontiers Music Srl. The highly anticipated new album promises to be one of their strongest collection of songs to date. It is full of all the trademark textures and flavors we have come to expect from TEN, arguably one of the best and most consistent melodic hard rock bands in the genre. “Gothica” renews TEN’s longstanding association with the Frontiers label and proudly displays all the hallmarks of classic TEN albums and will surely continue to build upon the rich legacy that the great British rockers have forged over a career spanning 22 years and counting.
“Gothica” emerges as their darkest album to date. Embracing history, romance and erotic horror in equal measure as it does, the title proves to be a fitting name. As listeners, we are transported from the darker side of human nature to the nocturnal supernatural, a dramatic realm of nightmares and the forbidden. “Gothica” is cinematic in every sense of the word. A web of musically elaborate spells, evoking embers that spark the imagination courtesy of the classic song writing of vocalist Gary Hughes.
Of the album, Gary says, “I am extremely pleased with the collection of songs on “Gothica” as they feel like they belong together. The band are firing on all cylinders once again and it is a gift to the army of fans everywhere who have relentlessly supported us over the years. It is ironically fitting that our 13th studio album should be a little more sinister, at the same time retaining all the commercial traits usually associated with a Ten album.”
Following their success on the recent albums “Albion”and “Isla De Muerta”, Gary Hughes is 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 Max Yates. On their third outing as a collective unit, the musicians in TEN have raised the bar even higher than they had previously. The album is full of stunning guitar work over a rich keyboard, bass, and drum tapestry with Hughes’ vocals once again bringing the nuances of the intricate lyrics to life. “Gothica” was produced by Gary Hughes and mixed and mastered by Dennis Ward. TEN’s longstanding professional association with Dennis has been ongoing since he mixed their 2011 album, “Stormwarning”.
Additionally, the album features stunning original artwork by Stan W. Decker, depicting a beautiful enchantress reading incantations from a book whilst summoning shadowy characters from its pages. Stan has cleverly illustrated the piece in order to portray the characters emerging from the books pages as the actual characters from the songs on the album. The atmospheric sleeve photography is once again provided by the remarkably talented Adrian Ashworth.
Frontiers is proud to be working with the legendary TEN again and looks forward to sharing this stunning new album with the band’s fans around the globe!
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
TEN is: Gary Hughes – Vocals, Backing Vocals, Guitar, Bass and Programming Dann Rosingana – Guitar Steve Grocott – Guitar John Halliwell – Guitar Steve McKenna – Bass Guitar Darrel Treece-Birch – Keyboards Max Yates – Drums and Percussion
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