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Released: 1999, (Frontiers Records)
Why am I only now getting a chance to hear Ten? I have heard the name for the last few years but I never had the opportunity to get a hold of their music. Well lo and behold I have in my grubby little hands the new (well almost new) Ten CD entitled Spellbound. I have to admit that I haven’t crossed paths with many bands that play this sort of lighter melodic metal aside from Axel Rudi Pell. In 1996 Gary Hughes teamed up with ex Dare members Vinny Burns and Greg Morgan. The released their debut self titled CD to rave reviews and followed it up the same year with "The Name of the Rose". This CD was again met with rave reviews, especially in Japan, which lead to Ten signing a licencing deal with Zero Corporation to release 4 more studio CDs. Ten released their third CD "The Robe" in 1997 again to rave reviews. In that same year Ten released their live CD "Never Say Goodbye". 1999 saw the release of the latest Ten opus "Spellbound". The lineup on this CD is Gary Hughes: vocals, Vinny Burns: guitars, Steve Mckenna: bass, Ged Rylands: bass, John Haliwell: guitars and Greg Morgan: drums.
"Spellbound" contains over 57 minutes of melodic metal that contains lots of great vocal work, ripping guitars and melody. The disc kicks off with the instrumental intro "March of the Argonauts" Great intro that reminds me of the score of the movie "Conan: The Barbarian" The opener is followed by the uptempo track "Feel the Force". This is a great track with lyrics which deal with the battle between the unicorn and the dragon. If I didn’t mention before, the lyrics on this CD are all of the fantasy sword and sorcery type. "Inside the Pyramids of Light" deals with the disastrous relationship between Cleopatra and Marc Antony. The title track is a mid tempo rocker about strange apparitions and "We Rule The Night" is powerful ballad with the vocals of Hughes shining through. Vinny Burns shows his prowess on the six string on the tune "Red" which is an homage to the hard fighting clansmen of Scotland. "The Alchemist" is the story of the honest wizard Malachi who is the last line of defence against evil. The CD also has more great ballads. "Wonderland" and "Till The End of Time" The first would make a great song or the radio except for the fact that it is not a cheesy love song.
Gary Hughes has written some great songs on this CD. I can honestly say that there are no filler songs on this CD. Vinny Burns is an under rated guitar player to say the least. I have never heard of this guy till I git this CD and he is awesome. He can shred with the best of them but he can also show great emotion when the composition calls for it. Gary Hughes has one of those mid range voices, clear yet powerful. His real strength is in his delivery. He sings every word like he really has a part in the story that he weaves. The album also contains a multitude of stringed instruments in the form of violin and cello. This adds a real atmosphere to the disc, especially on the song "We Rule The Night". Finally, I have to comment on the godly cover art by Luis Royo. This is a great painting of a maiden on a white unicorn doing battle with a dragon while the wizard casts a spell. Godly!! If you like melodic metal in the vein of Axel Rudi Pell then this is a must have CD.
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