TEN – The Twilight Chronicles

TEN - The Twilight Chronicles
  • 7/10
    TEN - The Twilight Chronicles - 7/10


Release date: August 25, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Don’t be afraid! Despite the Black Metal tinged cover art, Gary Hughes continues to be one of the top stalwarts for Melodic Rock in England. Since he parted ways with Vinnie Burns a few years ago, the band Ten is more or less Gary Hughes’ project alone, especially since original drummer Greg Morgan has also been replaced on The Twilight Chronicles. On Ten’s 8th studio release, musically everything is as pleasing as it was on the previous albums. Also, the sound stayed roughly the same, as Gary has also produced every single Ten album to date.

At this point, every fan of the band needs to know nothing more than to go ahead already and order the album, or pick it up in his/her favorite record store. For all others, this is what you can expect:

Although Ten has two guitarists, this is by far not Metal. Melodic Rock is the game, and the keyboardist is as important as the two six strings. Omnipresently laying the foundation for each song, Paul Hodson performs well, but often unspectacular. Above that, the rhythm section, consisting of guitarist Chris Francis who now also plays bass, and the new drummer Frank Basile, does not leave a special mark on the tracks. If any instrument can take the lead, it is one of the guitars, but the main ingredient of Ten’s music is Gary Hughes, his voice and his remarkable skill to compose Melodic Rock songs.

The songs are mostly Epic, Symphonic, Bombastic –- the latter more so than on the prior releases. Occasional outbreaks, like the Hard Rockin’ groove in “Hallowed Ground“ or the heavy guitar riff in the first part of “Tourniquet,“ cannot disguise that this album is as much Pop as it is Hard Rock. Generally, the pace of the tracks has been reduced even more than in the past, and Ten was never known for an abundance of uptempo tunes in the first place. This is a relaxed album … very satisfying with Gary’s great voice and several cool tracks that are the kind of excellent Rock songs, which Ten is known to produce: “The Chronicles,“ “The Elysian Fields,“ “The Twilight Masquerade,“ and “Born To The Grave“ are exactly what one may expect from one of England’s leading Melodic Rockers. Unfortunately, a few tracks also slid in that are fillers, and impair the overall verdict: “Oblivion“ is an over-sweetened radio tune (does anyone remember the soundtrack for the movie Footloose, one of those Eighties’ adolescent movies? You get the picture …) with an almost unbearable chorus.

Also, the two ballads are not up to Ten’s normal abilities: “This Heart Goes On“ is probably the most untouching ballad Gary recorded so far, and “When This Night Is Done“ is okay, but knowing what great melodies Hughes can come up with, this is just not good enough. Finally, “Tourniquet“ is shallow and a random, meaningless, Rock song.

Sounds like good and bad are balanced? No, wait, there are two more tracks that make up a third of the whole album, 10.18 minutes of “Hallowed Ground“ and the 12.19 opener “The Prologue/Rome.“ Those two are the highlights on the album, and deserve the word epic. Strategically placed as the first song on The Twilight Chronicles, “Rome“ takes home the prize as the best track on the album. It looks like Gary can say it best when he takes his time, and even the long instrumental parts, intro, and solo sections don’t get boring for a second. This song alone will make you pick out the CD from the shelf from time to time even in a few years.

Overall, you could place this Ten release somewhere in the middle of their catalogue, quality-wise. It is a step up from the last three albums Return To Evermore, Far Beyong The World, and Babylon (which were still not bad!), but fails to catch up with the brilliant early works, such as Ten, Spellbound, The Robe, and The Name Of The Rose. That makes it a very worthwhile Melodic Rock album, in the end.

If you like Ten, you may want to check out those other releases, which were composed by Gary Hughes:

Once And Future King: 1 and 2

Bob Catley: The Tower, Legends, Middle Earth, (and maybe When Empires Burn where Paul Hodson of Ten wrote the songs).


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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