February 19, 2023

This latest album from the British melodic rock band Ten follows on rapidly from last year’s triumphant Here Be Monsters which was another classic, trademark Ten release being an exciting and intoxicating mix of hard but melodic rock featuring perfect AOR and delicious power ballads.

For the uninitiated, Ten was formed back in 1995 by the singer, songwriter and guitarist Gary Hughes with Something Wicked now being the band’s sixteenth studio album and all of them being the finest British melodic rock that you will ever hear. They re-joined the Frontiers label in 2016 and have since released a series of brilliantly outstanding albums starting with the immense Gothica in 2017 which was rapidly followed up by Illuminati the following year with Here Be Monsters in 2022 and now we have Something Wicked This Way Comes which maintains the high and rich standards which has always been a hallmark for Ten. What makes the last two albums stand out is that they were both recorded at the same time but set for release a year apart with both being unlinked and stand-alone albums. The main reason for this simply being that the pandemic gave them the time to write and produce more material than normal and Hughes felt that the songs would benefit from having separate releases but this is not something that is so unusual for the band as it is somewhat similar to what they did with X and the Name Of The Rose which both came out in 1996.

Ten is very much Gary’s band but it is and always has been a collective work and not a vehicle to showcase all things Gary Hughes with each musician adding his own touch of magic to the proceedings. There has been changes over the years although the band has been relatively stable over the last few years with Hughes on vocals and guitar alongside a further two guitarists in Dann Rosingana and Steve Grocott, Steve McKenna on bass, Darrel Treece-Birch on keyboards and drummer Markus Kullman (Sinner, Glenn Hughes, Voodoo Circle) who came in recently for both Here Be Monsters and this new album having replaced the ever-dependable Max Yates. Hughes is an exceptional songwriter and has a mastery of melodic rock especially moving power ballads and do not forget that he has written and produced for many other artists including writing and producing the first three Bob Catley solo albums which are virtually a masterclass of pomp/melodic rock.

Here Be Monsters and Something Wicked This Way Comes are not related other than they are both AOR delights with all the expected vocal harmonies and hooks along with delicious keyboards and mazy and inspiring guitars over which Hughes lays down his beautifully rich, expressive and soul infused vocals. The keyword throughout is harmony and long-standing fans will instantly recognise this work as typically perfect melodic rock from the British band that truly does rival the American AOR giants.

If the band is a new name then you are in for a major surprise as there are a host of records to pick up on which should then lead to the outstanding Gary Hughes solo albums and then you simply have to check out the two albums that make up his Once And Future King rock opera. The man is a national treasure and his name is a guarantee that everything he records or produces is perfect rock music that always delights and enthrals. Again, the production is huge, clear and crisp with Hughes on production duties with mixing and mastering by Dennis Ward with whom the band have a long established and successful relationship.

Basically, this is as good as melodic rock gets and is as highly recommended as anything could ever be; pure genius from a band that always thrills.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

  1. Look For The Rose (Part 2) (6:28)
  2. Brave New Lie (4:35)
  3. The Tidal Wave (4:21)
  4. Parabellum (6:38)
  5. Something Wicked This Way Comes (7:02)
  6. The Fire And The Rain (5:27)
  7. New Found Hope (5:41)
  8. The Only Way Out (5:11)
  9. When The Darkness Comes (5:51)
  10. The Greatest Show On Earth (5:31)