Ten - Albion (Rocktopia Records)

Almost a return to the band's twentieth century glory days...
Release Date: 
23 Nov 2014 - 11:30pm

British hard rockers Ten are something of an institution in AOR circles today, a state of affairs that never ceases to cause puzzlement to my mind; I’ve heard every one of their albums down the years, and every one of those albums has something to offer, at least in terms of musicianship and songwriting skill. Yet time and again my enjoyment of Ten albums is spoiled by the very thing that lies at the centre of the band – the limp, lifeless vocals of the band’s moving force, Gary Hughes.

Albion, the band’s eleventh studio album, is actually very good if you’re prepared to cut Hughes some slack and just enjoy what’s going on. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the band’s most convincing effort since 1999’s excellent Spellbound. Neither Albion or Spellbound hold a candle to the band’s spectacular debut, X, but this release is a marked step up from last outing, the at-times risible Heresy and Creed. Hell, even Hughes sounds energised on the celtic-inspired title track, which sounds like something Ten’s close musical cousins Dare might have produced in their heyday, not to mention the strident eighties rockarama of single Die for Me (easily the album’s standout track), although he doesn’t fare quite so well on the cod-Whitesnake balladry of the unweildily-titled Sometimes Love Takes the Long Way Home.  

But fair play to the man – he knows a corking melodic hard rock tune when he hears one and, having surrounded himself with some top-notch brothers in arms (all six of the other membes of the band pull out all the stops to make their leader sound the best he can be here) he does proceed to churn out enough of the good stuff all told to make Albion worth a listen if hard rock/AOR is your chosen bag.