(8/10 Ten, the well known British hardrock band, faded a bit from the limelight in the last three years. After the excellent "Stromwarning" album it became more quite around the band. The band had to handle some changes in the line-up since Paul Hodson left the band in September 2011, followed by Neil Fraser and Mark Sumner.
In 2012 the band released with "Heresey and creed" their latest album and now they are back - even with three guitarists. Dann Rosingana, Steve Grocott and John Halliwell are responsible for the sixstrings and it is basically something very positive since it enriches the musical possibilities. But I also have to state that you can't really hear the triple axe on the album that much.
"Albion", which is the antique name for Great Britain, starts with "Alone in the dark tonight" in a typical Ten way. Guitars introduce a melodic hardrock track that we know from Gary Hughes and band mates. It comes with a big melody and still sounds a bit complex. I was reminded a bit to the earlier Asia when I heard the track. It's a promising start into the album.
The mid-pace "Battlefield" follows. The tune has a more rocking guitar than the opener and reflects the Ten trademarks very well. Computer samples kick off "It's alive". They are a kind of weird and get more in the background when the guitar starts. The song itself misses a bit of tension and belongs to the more average ones on the album.
The 'title track' "Albion born" is much better. Starting with Hughes outstanding voice the song develops to a cool melodic rocker with some (Irish) folk influences. Those are mainly reflected in the catchy chorus as well as in the interplay between Hughes singing and the choir vocals in the verse.
"Die for me" was the first single release from "Albion". Ten builds the song on a solid bluesy riff and it reminds to Whitesnake in the mid 80's. Compared to the single release "It ends this day" has a darker vibe. The joy with this song is the crunchy guitars that spread this ill-omened sphere in the verse what fits perfectly to the title of the tune. For me the best song on the album. The piano-based "Gioco d'amoure' is the counterpoint to "It ends this day". It is an emotional song that is a well-crafted ballad without a real unique feature. That Ten can do that much better is what they show with "Sometimes love takes the long way home". This track is a soulful one which is fascinating from beginning to end.
The bouncer on the album is called "Wild horses". Starting with a hearbeat (from a horse?) the vocals and the piano joins in. "Wild horses" is a tastefully arranged rock songs with a great hookline and a certain AOR touch.
The only negative point for me is the very polished sound. A few more rough edges here and there would have been good and would have enriched the listening experience.
However, Ten added another great piece of music to their discography that will be loved be all fans of British hardrock. I like it and can recommend it.
- Alone in the dark tonight
- It's alive
- Albion born
- Sometimes love takes the long way home
- A smuggler's tale
- Die for me
- It ends this day
- Gioco d'amoure
- Wild horses
Label: Rockopia Records