TEN – Illuminati [Japan Edition +1] (2018)
British melodic epic hard rock band TEN new album “Illuminati” will be released on November 9th via Frontiers Music, tomorrow this Japanese Edition with an exclusive bonus track.
“Illuminati” is, simply put, one of the best works in TEN’s fruitful career.
I’ve been following the exploits of TEN for over twenty years now, with an ever-growing sense of defeat and grumpiness. You see, I really thought, at the time of the band’s X album (released in faraway 1996 – Ed), that I’d found Britain’s answer to the Yank giants of hard rock and AOR carrying the flag of the genre in the dark era (read mid-Nineties).
Put simply, it was the best of it’s kind, a fine album that, in Britain at least, has still never been bettered. 1999’s Spellbound was pretty good too, especially the more-Whitesnake-than-Whitesnake title track, but since then the band have hurtled downhill – at least in my opinion – releasing album after album of cut price hard rock and gothic AOR, each album seemingly crammed full of trite lyrics and obvious riffs just to spite me.
But TEN seems to have re-born with “Illuminati”.
Put simply, “Illuminati” is by some way the best thing TEN have released since Spellbound. For some reason, everything clicks here where it has failed before.
Maybe it’s the lyrics – tracks like the title track and ‘Jericho’ offer genuinely interesting subject matter that’ll make you want to go away and read up more on them – but probably it’s just the music.
I’ve been listening to music for a long time, and I’m wracking my brains to think of a power ballad written by a British band that even comes close to the majesty of this record’s regular edition closing track ‘Of Battles Lost and Won’.
It’s spine-tingling, hair-raising stuff that fans of names like Queen, Europe and House Of Lords are absolutely going to worship when their ears are lucky enough to get a whiff of it.
Parping keys, strident chords and a superb vocal from Gary Hughes all go together to create a sumptuous smorgasbord of sound that you’ll want to luxuriate in for ever after hearing it only once. It really is that good.
The rocky ‘Mephistopheles’ is almost as good – it’s one of those rare beasts, a song with a more memorable verse melody than it’s chorus counterpart – but apart from the prosaic metallic of ‘Shield Wall’ the quality doesn’t dip below excellent throughout the record.
So there you have it – TEN, to these ears at least – resemble nothing so much as a band utterly reborn on “Illuminati”. Old fans are gonna love it, but I’ve an inkling it’ll make the band a lot of new ones too.
01. Be As You Are Forever
02. Shield Wall
03. The Esoteric Ocean
05. Rosetta Stone
07. Heaven And The Holier-Than-Thou
10. Of Battles Lost And Won
11. Rosetta Stone (Remix) (Japan Bonus Track)
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)