Next review: » Ten - Far Beyond The World
Released: 2000, Frontiers Records
This CD has been stuck in my CD player for the last week almost 24 hours a day with only brief breaks for spins of the godly new Persuader CD The Hunter and the new Cryptopsy disc And Then You’ll Beg. Ten have delivered, yet again, a great slab of melodic metal that is full of awesome guitar work from Vinny Burns and John Halliwell and enough melody to make Axel Rudi Pell sit up and take notice. This Cd in fact is a concept disc and one of the better ones that I have heard in awhile I might add. Gary Hughes: vocals and his company of melodic metalheads including Burns and Halliwell on guitars, Steve McKenna: bass, Greg Morgan: drums and special guest Don Airey (Ozzy) on keyboards have woven a tale of love, greed, revenge and murder all set against a futuristic backdrop.
A short synopsis of the story is in order. The year is 2999 and 99% of the earth’s surface has been left devastated by war. The remaining population of the world is governed by a single entity called The World Federation Council and lives in ecologically controlled domes. Lex Bader is an inhabitant of the domed city, Babylon. He is a gifted, very shy and insecure, computer programmer who’s abilities border on the genius. He works at Cryotech Industries where he meets a beautiful young woman named Jen Jarrett who is the personal secretary of the company’s founder and President Max Devlin.. They fall in love but in the process come under ridicule from Max Devlin’s sleazy sons Rev and Don who can’t believe that Jen is with the shy programmer. The next day Jen is found dead. The story continues on from there, and what a story it is.
Gary Hughes manages to run the gamut from love to happiness to heartbreak to violence all in this 10 song CD. "The Stranger" starts the CD on a high note with one of the best songs on the disc. This song sets up the whole story and is a mid tempo track filled with lots of Burn's fretburning and some great keyboards from Airey. "Give in this Time" is a great ballad that just helps build the emotion in the story and in another time might have brought Ten to a wider audience. "Silent Rain" signals the midpoint of the story and its with this song that the mood changes. This is another mid tempo track that just exudes emotion. A highlight of the CD for me is "Black Hearted Woman" which is a tale of murder and hopelessness. They keyboards of Don Airey mesh seamlessly with the guitar of Burns to create one of the better tracks on this release. The CD is closed out by the songs "Thunder In Heaven" ,which is the heaviest track on "Babylon", and "Valentine", which finishes out the story of Lex, Jen and the Devlins.
Gary Hughes has definitely proven that he is an elite songwriter in the melodic metal world. He has woven a tale with Babylon that meshes the emotions of each song perfectly with the story that he is trying to tell. Not to many concept CDs as of late have been about love found and love lost. Ten pull off the story perfectly and manage to make one great CD in the process.
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