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TEN - 'Gothica' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/72/5b/4b/Ten-Gothica-5-1499195692.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     July 04, 2017    
 
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Their best yet? Maybe not; but it's damned impressive!

Being totally impartial, I'm still mystified as to why Ten can be such a divisive band in terms of fan support. For over twenty years they have served the AOR/Melodic Rock/Hard Rock community with music (and lyrical wonderment) that encompasses depth, desire, deliberation and delectation. I surmise that if it's simply-structured songs about "sex, drugs and 'Rock 'n' Roll" that's craved, then Ten may appear somewhat distanced from those parameters. However, the negativity frequently displayed is surely misguided, and could be deemed to imply misunderstanding and unfamiliarity towards the cultured persona the band have fashioned, implemented and sustained since 1996.

'Gothica' is their thirteenth studio album (an impressive record by anyone's standards) following on from their efficacious alliance with Rocktopia Records, which spawned the hugely successful 'Albion' (2014), 'Isla De Muerta' (2015), 'The Dragon And Saint George' EP (2015), and celebratory two disc "collection" 'Battlefield' (2016). Ten's singer/song-writer impresario Gary Hughes is once again supported by John Halliwell (rhythm guitar), Darrel Treece-Birch (keys), Steve Grocott (guitars), Dann Rosingana (guitars), Steve McKenna (bass) and Max Yates (drums); it's a line-up that has now been together since 'Albion', and their professional solidification and musical synergy is now uncompromisingly evident for all to see.

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'Gothica' has something for everyone, an eclectic yet familiar blend of everything that's gone before, but certainly not a replication and regurgitation of previous material. If it's famed historical epics you desire, then opener 'The Grail', 'A Man For All Seasons' and 'The Wild King Of Winter' will indubitably gratify your voracious needs. 'La Luna Dra-Cu-La', with its 'Red'-inspired Celtic vibe, also encapsulates those inimitable dual guitars that mesh flamboyance and diligence in perfect harmony. For the AOR aficionados, the brooding yet bouncy 'Jekyll And Hyde', the autobiographical 'In My Dreams', the Glam Sleaze of 'Welcome To The Freak Show' and calmative closer 'Into Darkness' all provide the melody, hooks and catchy choruses that Hughes is renowned for. Of course, a Ten album wouldn't be the same without a ballad or two – here we have 'Paragon' and 'Travellers', the former a heart-wrenching ode to a woman of perfection, the latter an exquisite self-styled power ballad where Treece-Birch, incorporating a "square wave monolead" sound, arguably produces his best work to date.

'Gothica' is a lyrical tapestry of literary, cinematic and historical references, carried along on a luxurious and mesmerising Melodic Hard Rock soundscape. Their best yet? Maybe not; but it's damned impressive!

Dave Crompton

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