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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Ten - 2015 Isla De Muerta
Ten - 2015 Isla De Muerta

ALBUM: Isla De Muerta
LABEL: Rocktopia
YEAR: 2015


LINEUP: Gary Hughes - vocals * Dann Rosingana, Steve Grocott, John Halliwell - guitars * Steve Mckenna - bass * Darrel Treece-Birch - keyboards * Max Yates - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Buccaneers (Instrumental), Dead Men Tell No Tales * 02 Revolution * 03 Acquiesce * 04 The Dragon And Saint George * 05 Intensify * 06 This Love * 07 (i) Karnak (Instrumental) (ii) The Valley Of The Kings * 08 Tell Me What To Do * 09 Angel Of Darkness * 10 The Last Pretender * 11 Assault And Battery (Japan Bonus Track)



This band runs hot and cold for me. More cold than anything else. I'd be quite comfortable sitting in an ice bath listening to this lot after their recent outings. The last CD 'Albion' wasn't very good to be honest. They promised to deliver with all guns blazing only to offer up a lukewarm cup of tea to the residents of a retirement home, such was its alarming lack of intent. Instead, they've become the laughing stock of my CD collection. I think I should offload everything I own of theirs. But alas, no, I can't quite do it, as their first few albums were pretty decent to be honest. Quite how Frontiers Records stuck with this lot for so long remains a mystery. Now signed to Rocktopia Records, I wonder how long they will tolerate Ten being part of their label. So what of the latest 'Isla De Muerta'? Are these British rockers planning a retirement to the Costa del Sol anytime soon? Should they toss it in, like we all keep telling Def Leppard to do?

The Songs
Looking at the cover art, it's hard not to think of Caribbean conquests and illegal rum running during the heyday of ocean-going Pirates. Listening to this album gives you a different impression altogether. It would be easy to label Ten as the Iron Maiden of the melodic rock scene, given their sense of overblown pompdom and extended playing time of the songs, but I think that would be slightly unfair. Iron Maiden have been fucking awful for the last two decades while Ten have not. So perhaps I should take that back? But starting things off with a 6 minute 20 sec opener 'Buccaneers/Dead Men Tell No Tales' that is supposed to be about swashbuckling pirates sounds far too meek and mild. Really, Ten should've taken a leaf out of the book written by Running Wild, Tankard or Alestorm. 'Revolution' sounds exactly the opposite of what Hughes and co were trying to convey. If this was their idea of a revolution, nobody would've bothered turning up to the town-square! There's no dramatic lead-up to 'The Dragon And St George', it's just one melodic rock song that segues from one to the next. And to be perfectly honest, it's not very interesting musically either. The exception to the rule would be the double-up 'Karnak/The Valley Of The Kings', but if you really want to experience Egypt in the melodic rock context, listen to the debut Blue Murder CD instead. At last, Ten show some claws with 'Angel Of Darkness', though it sounds like Gary Hughes showed up to the vocal session after having attended a yoga class! Jeez mate..

In Summary
I'll be honest, I couldn't really get into this. Really, this is a load of well-played nonsense. Could I put it any simpler than this? I mean who listens to this stuff anymore ( don't start..). Gary Hughes is a great singer, but his voice is far too kind for hard rock and metal. He should stick to pure AOR. Ten have since released an EP 'The Dragon And St George', but even that won't save them. To be honest, Ten should ditch the imagery, get back to modern day attitudes, dress sense and typical melodic rock content, and deliver an album worthy of their past credentials. 'Isla De Muerta' is not it.

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#1 | englandashes on November 25 2015 22:09:07
'Elements of doom, voices from the gloom'' a lyric taken from the song, tell me what to do, yes i can write some questionable sentences, but that one i always find amusing, what the hell does that mean?, although i suspect maybe just because it rhymes!, about time Ten get a critical review, well maybe a beer influenced review at least
#2 | Eric on November 26 2015 22:02:36
Those first couple Ten albums were quite good. Haven't bothered since, God that was a long time ago!
#3 | gdazegod on November 26 2015 22:32:07
i agree Eric, 'X', 'The Robe', and 'The Name Of The Rose' were very good. They've lost their way since I believe..
#4 | Nick C on November 27 2015 12:40:12
I kept up until Far Beyond the World...which I thought was a pretty good album (I prefer it to Babylon and Spellbound) but I lost track after that, cursory listens of successive releases haven't made me want to rush out and get them as there's nothing on them that you can't find on previous albums. I guess if you buy a Ten album then you know what you're getting...rather like a bottle of Budweiser, you know what it's going to be like before you open/play it so if you like that then you'll be happy. I think part of the problem is that Gary has produced all their albums since The Robe and I think bringing in someone outside of the band to channel their talents in the studio and give a fresh perspective could be the shot in the arm the band needs. As said they're a good band but it seems like their treading water and just recycling what's gone before, but then again many bands do, it's just some do it more convincingly Grin . Aside from the music the godawful cheesy fantasy sleeves the band have a liking for really put me off....just my taste but I run the other way from nearly anything with that type of artwork adorning a takes a lot for me to get past that (but it's not insurmountable Smile ) .
#5 | swazi on December 04 2015 18:56:44
I completely agree, Nick! I have 10 TEN CD's (pun intended! Wink), the last being 'Stormwarning'. After a while the last releases all start to sound the same.
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