Label: Frontiers 2012
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Ten made a welcome return to the scene with last year's fine "Stormwarning" album. They had a lot to prove and they did just that, giving us some excellent songs. Now, if that album was a "stormwarning", this new one should have been a hurricane of epic proportions, right? It isn't. At times it gets quite stormy, but at its' weakest we merely get a little bit of rain and some wind... ok, that's enough weather.
Once you get past the standard "orchestrated, pompous intro", the album gets a fine start with "Arabian Nights", which is classic Ten with plenty of power and melody - just the way I like it. I really don't know what to make of "Gunrunning", it has its' moments but somehow it ends up being somewhat unremarkable. "When The Lights Go Down" has a great, atmospheric intro which promises good things, and indeed the song is one of the better ones, but the chorus doesn't really take off like I hoped it would.
"Raven's Eye" is the album's "celtic ballad", and frankly I could've done without it. The verses are almost hilarious with vocalist Gary Hughes streching the words to the extreme. I know it goes with the celtic theme, but it's still funny. I could've also done without "Right Now", which is a monotonous and dull song that doesn't seem go anywhere. "Game Of Hearts" is better, as is the beautiful ballad "The Last Time", which gets my vote as the album's best slow track.
I guess "The Priestess" was written to be the album's "groovy and sexy" track, but it could have been just as well saved as the Japanese bonus track, it doesn't really work. One to skip for me.
"Insatiable" and "Unbelievable" are both very good uptempo rockers, and inbetween them you'll find the very melodic "Another Rainy Day" which is the most AOR-type of a song on the album. This trio of good songs would have ended the album on a high note, but there's still one ballad stuck to the end of the tracklisting. Gary Hughes has written some of my favourite ballads, but this isn't one of them. It's melodic and nice enough, but not that memorable. And the keyboard stabs during the chorus almost kill the song... seriously, they are rather disturbing.
I'm hoping that this album is just the "calm before the storm" that were warned about. The next one could tear off the roof, please.