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Far Beyond The World
Released: 2001, Frontiers
I’m calling it right now. Ten are the undisputed leaders of melodic hard rock from the UK. How egotistical of me to make such a declaration! Let me explain. Ten are truly the new Whitesnake of the late 90’s and beyond.
The band since 1995 have created 6 studio masterpieces of melodic hard rock and the quality never suffers. They have been producing consistently high caliber songs for ages and are revered in Asia and in the more knowledgeable hard rock fanzines and webzines. The dynamic duo of Vinny Burns and Glen Hughes have done it again; another killer album. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Ten should be more successful, it isn’t fair! But hey a growing legion of 60,000 fans can’t be wrong.
Far Beyond the World sees the band scaling back every so slightly on image. The cover is a little dull compared to the last two masterpieces, Babylon and Spellbound. The band is looking a little more sedate, all in black, mostly leather and jeans, no frilly shirts to be found! Babylon had some nice themes running through it but this is a more straight ahead.
Musically everything is intact, smooth, powerful, dynamics vocals courtesy of Mr. Hughes. Vinny plays a mean guitar and his counterpart John Halliwell ain’t no slouch either! Speaking of guitars, Vinny has since announced his departure and some new hot-shot named, Chris Francis, who has some won some prestigious praise for his solo work. The drums and bass are in their place, never too fancy or overstated but powerful and keeping things moving along. The flawless keyboard work by Paul Hodson add flair and dynamism to the already excellent songs. The production by Tommy Newton is excellent, warm and inviting but clear and crisp at the same time.
The band has been compared to thin Lizzy, Rainbow, Whitesnake and those are all accurate comparisons, however I feel Ten have a smooth and sophisticated vibe that maybe the others lacked a little. That is not to say they can’t rock! “Outlawed and Notorious” is a kick-ass track with John Sykes/Blue Murderesque riffery, and the lead off cut “Glimmer of Evil” is a serious rocker. The ballads as always are heartfelt and emotional. The ballads are top notch and there aren’t too many this time to weigh the CD down, the band opting for a fairly lean CD of 11 cuts in one hour. I know, statistically there is not a big difference but it seems to be more streamlined than the other Ten CD’s which also clock in at about 11 songs and one hour each as well. It’s hard to put my finger on…more immediate perhaps. Some critics are suggesting it is a bit of a return to the guitar fuel of Spellbound. I agree.
The CD falls short of perfect 5/5 because perhaps only because lack of progression. Not a lot of fantastic new ideas in execution or presentation but they deliver the goods, time and again, with sterling performances. The time-worn harmonies and melodies will have you humming along virtually immediately. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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