Ten – Stormwarning

TEN stormw COVER

I remember when Ten first starred out, it was exciting having a UK band flying the flag for melodic rock. The debut album was lightweight AOR, whereas the second album, ‘The Name Of The Rose’, helped to define the Ten style which is a mixture of Magnum and Whitesnake. However, at some point along the way, my interest in Ten waned and I stopped buying their albums, mainly because the albums all started to sound very similar and later albums didn’t add anything new to the mix. I think many other people must have felt the same way because the band never really achieved the success that the initial vibe about the band would have suggested. Eventually the band called in quits.

However, in the grand tradition that is melodic rock, Ten have reformed and released ‘Stormwarning’. And so ‘Endless Symphony’ slowly emerges from a long intro and we have Ten back. It is a grandiose, yet retrained, start to the album which feels like it lasts 7min, not because it needs  to, but simply because it can. The next couple of tracks, ‘Centre of my Universe’ and ‘Kingdom Come’, are solid Ten fare, with ‘Kingdom Come’ holding my interest from a lyrical viewpoint rather than a musical one.

‘Book of Secrets’ is just plain weird as Ten attempt sleaze rock! Lyrically and musically a low point for the album that I hope Ten avoid in future. The title track and ‘Invisible’ see the band return to more familiar, but hardly inspiring, Ten territory.

Just when I think Ten are a spent force, ‘Love Song’ seems to recapture the AOR magic that made the debut album so appealing. Next track, ‘The Hourglass and The Landslide’, continues the revival with a slice of catchy melodic rock. Now that I’m in a more positive frame of mind, ‘Destiny’, also seems to hit a sweet spot before ‘The Wave’ closes the album with a syrupy ballad.

It is good to have Ten back again and fans will appreciate this album, but the band are going to have to work harder if they are to come up with an album to rival gems like ‘The Name of the Rose’.

Rating: 3 stars

Jeff Scott Soto – Live At FireFest 2008

I’m a bit mystified by this release as it is very similar to the “Live in Madrid” that was released in 2009. In fact, the set listing is pretty much identical.

He is a confident sod and he likes his funk as much as he likes his rock. Therefore his concerts tend to combine the two, so your tastes better not be restricted to rock only With plenty of material to draw upon, JSS frequently does medleys of songs, rather than straight versions of individual songs. In the live setting these work well, but sitting at home you can find youself wanting a complete version of one of your favourite songs, rather than just a snippet. However, the funky medley which finishes the show is an example of a medley working out well.

JSS is a great singer, who maybe gets a bit carried away on the funk/medley side of things. If you are a long time fan, that won’t worry you too much, but then this won’t be of much interest as you probably already have “Live in Madrid“.

The Poodles – No Quarter

I first came across The Poodles when I bought their Seven Seas album a few years ago. I like the album, but to be honest, it has always been overshadowed by Brother Firetribe’s “Hearts on Fire” album which I bought the same day.  The Poodles have released 3 studio albums and whenever this album was released it was meant to be a stop gap until the new album was released. However, this one has been in my in-tray for a while and that new studio album, “Performocracy”, will actually be released very shortly.

On this live album the band prove that thye can deliver in a live scenario. In terms of the method used to create a live album, this one goes for music and singing to the fore, with the crowd noise religated very definitely to the background.

Obviously the songs from “Seven Seas” are the ones that made the initial impression on me, but the other tracks all work equally well. Quite often a live album by a band that I’m not that familiar with will put me off investigating them further. With album, that is not ehe case. “Metal Will Stand Tall” and now “Performocracy” are still on my must investigate further list. So, overall a slid release, that does what it is meant to. If you are really into these guys, there is a live DVD which is probably worth checking out.

Rating: 3 Stars

www.poodles.se , www.frontiers.it