I have a love and hate relationship towards Gary Hughes and the music of Ten, it started out well with the first two albums in the 90´s before his productions fell apart and went straight into the abyss. I also thought he repeated himself throughout every new composition during the first part of the 00´s, there wasn´t much to be happy about but then something happened when Hughes started collaborating with Dennis Ward.
All of a sudden, the music and the production started sounding good again on the albums "Heresy and Creed" (2012) and "Albion" (2014), Hughes also stuck with the same band on the latest 3 releases which is a wise thing because this 7-man band sounds tight and strong.
The band has returned to Frontiers Music with their 13th studio album "Gothica", their darkest album to date. The new album´s 10 tracks offers both a step into the world of Ten´s classic melodic rock as well as a new take on romantic horror rock.
I wasn´t sure that Gary Hughes would pull it off with his songwriting that tends to lead him into a blind alley but it works, I find it very interesting in songs like "The Grail" where Ten borrows from the new-age project Era and blend Gregorian chant with rock. A nice move indeed.
"Travellers" is another fine song where retrowave meets the highland rock of Dare, the song "In my dreams" is classic Ten and a flashback to the 1996 album "The name of the rose".
Another great song is "La Luna Dra-Cu-La" except for the childish chorus that makes me singing "Da Cola" instead of "Dra-Cu-La", such a shame since the rest is brilliant celtic rock a la Gary Moore.
A solid album that will satisfy the fans of Ten, at least for the moment.