TEN – “Something Wicked This Way Comes”
By Colonel Angus
Melodic rock darlings TEN are back with a new record after less than 12 months following 2022’s “Here Be Monsters”. I have to give the band credit for producing albums quickly like artists back in the 70s used to do but I’m sure having the Covid downtime helped by giving them the time to focus on crafting new material. If you have been following TEN then you know that Gary Hughes is the only original member now but the others are not mere backing players. Each member that has passed through the ranks has brought something special to the music and this line-up is no different. Dann Rosingana and Steve Grocott have provided the catchy riffs and soaring solos for a decade now. Their performances on “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is as good as always and there seems to be a “new” energy within their playing. Bassist Steve MacKenna’s second tour of duty is over a decade as is keyboard player Darrel Treece-Birch’s tenure with the band. Needless to say, this has been a solid line-up that has been producing some of the best melodic rock from England.
When I received this disk for review, I went back into my collection and realized that TEN are quite the prolific bunch. After my first listen to his new record, I went back to some of their older material to see (or hear in this case) if there has been any music progression or change. Well, I can safely say that the band keep it close to what they are known for and what they do best. They don’t go off on any tangents or even try to incorporate any other sounds because they found their niche. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is full of the same catchy melodic rock that made older album “The Robe” and newer disk “Illuminati” so enjoyable.
The first cut starts off with some sound effects and then a witch-type voice recites a spell that ends with her saying “something wicked this way comes”. From the opening riffs of “Look for the Rose”, TEN set off to hit the listeners with their classic melodic rock sound. None of this is new but it is performed with such style and conviction that you’re more than happy to go along for the ride. The strong melodic songwriting continues with “Brave New Lie” and “The Tidal Wave”. The latter even has a really great 80s rock vibe about it and it takes me back to a time when I didn’t have a care in the world. Those were the days when you just put a cassette in your car deck and gathered your friends for a day of cruising. Moving on to the next track, some news reports usher in “Parabellum” which is one of the heavier tunes on the album. Again, the band creates great hooks with the vocals and riffing that will have you humming the song for days. The standout on the record though has to be the title track. It has a great build up and just has a great swagger to the performance. I don’t know if it is the fact that this is a new tune for me but I can’t get enough of this one. I keep returning to this track and right now as I write this review, it is one of my favorite TEN songs. This is one of those times where I feel the sum is greater than the parts. All aspects of the track (song, vocals, guitars, etc.) are great but there is that “x-factor” that elevates it from very good to great.
Luckily, there is more great music on “Something Wicked This Way Comes” with the closing tune “The Greatest Show on Earth” being another standout. Melodic rock, as a genre, usually doesn’t have many epic track but this one manages to capture that vibe within their style. There is some great guitar work throughout the record but it really shines on “The Greatest Show on Earth”. The other songs I didn’t mention are also really good with the ballad “New Found Hope” being the only one I can’t seem to get into. There is nothing really bad about the song, I just feel it doesn’t rise to the same level as the other track. TEN have crafted another record that deserves attention. If you are already a fan, then you know what to expect (and TEN deliver) but if you have never heard of them, check out “Something Wicked This Way Comes”.