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?
Ever since their arrival on the melodic rock scene in the 90s, Ten have always been synonymous with making “big” sounds. With its combination of huge vocals, even bigger guitar sounds and a genuine sense of grandeur, their self titled debut quickly asserted itself as one of the classics of the era, and the musical marriage between Gary Hughes (vocals) and ex-Dare guitarist Vinny Burns proved to be an ambitious, yet very natural union. Their third album, ‘The Robe’ , a concept album centring around Egyptian mythology, set the bar even higher in terms of ambition, and for a time, it seemed like a recording the band would never top. Nevertheless, they trucked on, and their ever fluctuating line-up (which at one point included Kent based talent Chris Francis filling Vinny’s huge musical shoes) continued to record distinctive, bombastic albums that thrilled fans across Europe.
Since the early 90s, vocalist Gary Hughes has been one of the most important figures on the British melodic rock scene. His second solo album helped launch the much missed Now & Then record label and his subsequent work as frontman with pomp rockers Ten has taken his big voice around the world.