Ten’s fifteenth studio album ‘Here Be Monsters’ was easily the band’s finest collection of songs in many a year. Although a lot of their post-Chris Francis albums are home to some great tracks, Ten’s later output, when taken as a whole, sometimes feels patchy or like a band desperately trying to recycle old glories. ‘…Monsters’ was a cut above. It’s choruses were often great; the music had a sense of fire that had been partly absent for a while, and the vocal contributions from the great Gary Hughes were especially good throughout. With all of that in mind, 2023’s ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ had a lot to live up to. The fact that the songs were recorded in tandem with ‘Here Be Monsters’ automatically stood the record in good stead, but would it merely made up from the tracks that weren’t good enough to make the cut almost a year earlier?
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HEROES AND MONSTERS – Heroes And Monsters
Although formed as a new band in 2022, Heroes And Monsters features three very established musicians. Guitarist Stef Burns will need no introduction for a lot of rock fans, having played with Alice Cooper and Y&T in the 90s. Bassist Todd Kerns mightn’t have reached household name status in the UK, but he’s also been a member of Alice’s touring band, recorded with Slash, and been an integral part of big selling Canadian alternative rock band Age of Electric. With Evanescence/Black Label Society man Will Hunt occupying the drum stool, Heroes And Monsters have a great pedigree, even before taking their music into consideration.
ROB MORATTI – Epical
For most AOR fans, Rob Moratti is a man who’ll need no introduction. However, here’s a quick recap for anyone unfamiliar with his career: his early work with his eponymously named band put him on the map via some chunky sounding melodic hard rock, and his brief tenure as frontman with Saga elevated his profile considerably. At other times, he could be found as frontman for AOR band Final Frontier, or sporadically releasing solo material.
SABU – Banshee
Paul Sabu has somewhat of a chequered past when it comes to melodic rock. For everything essential (Kidd Glove, ‘Heartbreak’), there are a couple of genuinely average albums, and more than occasionally, he’s been guilty of sullying his releases with some truly awful songs. Surely no-one ever heard his mid 90s track ‘The.. Babysitters’ and genuinely liked it? For some rock fans, the mental scars left by that song are deep. The thought of it can still trigger PTSD.
NEVENA – Nevena
Serbian vocalist Nevena Dordevic came to the attention of Frontiers Records via her friendship with The Big Deal’s guitarist Srdjan Brankovic, whose own band released their debut album on the label in May 2022. Seemingly, his championing of Nevena was met with a huge amount of trust which was not misplaced.