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TEN
BABYLON

Frontiers / Now & Then FRCD 046
Produced by: Gary Hughes

Released: AUGUST 28 / Website
Relatives: Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake
GENRE: AOR
OVERALL: 92%

  1. The Stranger
  2. Barricade
  3. Give In This Time
  4. Love Became The Law
  5. The Heat
  6. Silent Rain
  7. Timeless
  8. Black Hearted Woman
  9. Thunder In Heaven
  10. Valentine

Ten have had an interesting career. They have never really released two albums the same, while also never straying from a fairly distinctive sound.
Singer/songwriter Gary Hughes has had a more varied approach in his solo career, but Ten is what ships the major units and after 18 months, Babylon is the latest album from the guys.
I loved the heavy AOR of the debut but strayed a little from the middle couple of releases. Not until their last album Spellbound did I think the band had hit their straps and really made an awesome album.
I am pleased to say that in my opinion, this is another awesome album. Babylon does not break any news ground, rather it mixes - for the first time - two elements of their past.
The album takes the tougher and more straight forward aggressive nature of Spellbound and brings back the more melodic feel of their debut. This is the most obviously melodic Ten album since that self titled debut, yet it
retains the intense guitar and vocal sound discovered on their last album.
The album is also a concept album but generally you wouldn't know it. Every song plays off it's own individual merits and thankfully unlike too many other concept albums, there are pronounced choruses and the tracks don't go on for 20 minutes. Instead Babylon is a to the point, 10 track, 55 minute album. The only small complaint is the sometimes annoying spoken word voice-overs. They can take somewhat from the otherwise flawless flow of the album.
Keyboard wizard Don Airey has been added to the album's line up and I must say his contribution is marvelous. Almost subtle, his keyboard and organ contributions are evident in every track, without dominating any single song. He basically adds texture and musical depth to the album.
Track By Track:
The Stranger opens the album as Spellbound was opened, with a big hard hitting guitar swirling hard rocker. Fast paced, in your face and Vinny Burns guitar solo's everywhere. Fans of the last album will love it.
Barricade opens with more swirling guitars and a pounding rhythm section, plus Don Airey plugging away. The verse gives way to a cool raspy Gary Hughes vocal and the chorus is more reminiscent of a Gary Hughes' solo record, but obviously much heavier.
Track three sees the first evidence of the return of the style of the debut. Give In This Time is pure AOR in the heavy melodic tone of tracks like Can't Slow Down. The much improved vocal tone of Hughes rules the song and the chorus is a mutli-layered AOR fest.
Love Became The Law is another major melody filled track. More sharp AOR, but in a dark, heavy and moody tone. Once again there is so much going on in the background, it will take several listens to appreciate everything going on.
The Heat is a simpler, more straight ahead uptempo rocker.
Silent Rain is a classic Ten ballad. This is the type of track the guys are famous for and have turned out on a regular basis. That so, I am far from tired of them and enjoyed this heavy 6 minute epic ballad as much as, if not even more than the others. The chorus really raises the roof!
Timeless is a cool dark heavy rocker. This is where Don Airey really gets to play a major role in a song's texture. A big heavy keyboard and guitar driven rocker.
Black Hearted Woman is another catchy uptempo pop rocker that seems lighter than some other tracks, but only because it is less musically complicated. Makes a nice breather from the more intense tracks.
Thunder In Heaven is simply massive. Another dark and heavy hard rocker, this is one of the heaviest tracks the band have recorded to date. Intense and hard rocking.
Valentine is almost a complete contrast to Thunder In Heaven. This track is a mellow, yet dramatic finale to the album. Just a keyboard and vocal start the track, but as it winds it's way thru almost 6 minutes, the track becomes another monster intense Ten power ballad. Great stuff.
BOTTOM LINE: Due to the nature of this business, Ten are always going to have their detractors. They are also a somewhat acquired taste, but for me, I am sold on the band. Their last album assured that and the fact the intense production and style of that album have been mixed with the more favored melodic influence of their debut, plus adding touches of Gary Hughes' solo album, mean this album for me is possibly their best to date. That time will tell. Already established Ten fans will love it, others that have resisted thus far will probably continue to do so.
PRODUCTION: 90% SONGS: 94% VIBE: 90%ATTITUDE: 90%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Ten, Gary Hughes, Bob Catley and Co.
DISCOGRAPHY:Ten . Name Of The Rose . The Robe . Never Say Goodbye . Spellbound . Babylon


27/11/06: Ivone - samuraisword@ig.com.br
Rating: 90
Another song from this album I realized was "Give In This Time". It reminds me of an Whitesnake's song (I forget the title!). In spite of this, it doesn't stop the quality of the album; it is nearly a classic rock album (rating 90) , it is fantastic; nevertheless, it is not a classic rock album yet (it did not reach rating 100).

24/08/05: Ivone - samuraisword@ig.com.br
Rating: 90
I confirm this rating above, because there are elements of 80's Hard Rock on this album.There were people who criticized this album because of the similarities among G.H.'s songs and others ones. I really realized that the tracks "Barricade" and "Love Became The Law" reminds me of the songs "Rock The Night" and "Carrie" (by Europe) a little bit; but , at least, Mr. Hughes tried to do his own songs and ,in spite of this fact, they did not get bad songs. Only one thing I don't understand:There are many artists prefer covers to doing new songs (even if there are similarities among others ones). In my opinion, I prefer the otherwise, because recording covers gives us the impression of creativity missing. It seems that there are not songs, unless the Rock-Classics of 60's and 70's. We should forgive and verify Musical Notes (Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Si) are only constituted by seven parts. So, before criticizing, study (you) music and conclude yourselves what the good song is.

07/02/05: Ivone - samuraisword@ig.com.br
Rating: 90
In terms of music, this album extremely contains powerful songs. The production is fantastic, too, even if without Mike Stone`s production. What a pity this album only contains the subject and theme about Love, even if the time of the album is the future. Personally, I prefer themes about the problems of society. Only the subject and theme I didn`t like. Of rest, congratulations, Mr. Hughes.

16/11/04: propane - kprinty@socalrr.com
Rating: 85
Anything which includes Don Airy has got to be Stupendous.

27/05/03: Aaron Chatfield - aaron_lee_chatfield@hotmail.com
Rating: 85
OK, I live in Manchester, England and I first met Gary Hughes, back in 1989 - when he was fronting Big Bad Wolf! I knew he reasonably well for a while and remember attending the Now and Then launch party for his first solo release for the label. Since then, I have lost touch with Gary, as his career has taken him onwards and upwards, but luckily one of my friends works for STS Power and is often the front of desk sound man.

This album is a superb release, as is everything else Gary has turned his mind to - Gary has the ability to re-invent himself with every release, sliding from genre to genre, whilst remaining to keep the constant 'ten/hughes' vibe.

If you have purchased Ten or Gary's solo releases before, then this is a superb addition - if you new to the band and interested in finding out more then, this probably isn't the best album to get - seek out Far Beyond The World - a better taster to Gary's style......

Then buy everything else Gary has graced with his touch!

01/03/02: Lazaurs Contra - pelivor@hotmail.com
Rating: 97
I've read reviews where Ten "stole" melodies and riffs from other
songs. Well, personally I don't really care as long as the album
sounds good. If some of these tracks are actually "steals" well
then I like these duplicates over the originals; this
is one masterpiece of an album!

First off, it sounds like a little bit of everything. It tells
a story like Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime", has three killer
ballads (Love Became the Law, Silent Rain, Valentine) One so-so song (Timeless)
which barely affects the rating at all. It also contains a Yngwie-
esk neoclassical track (Thunder in Heaven) And a bunch of hard-
hitting rock songs (The not-mentioned titles). Here's a brief review
of each song and they're ratings:

"The Stranger" (10 out of 10) A great way to start the album. I think
the chorus is repeated one too many times but that's ok. No affect
on the rating. Typical Gary Hughes vocals in vein of Spellbound, but
without the loud and in-your-face production that Spellbound
carried occassionally.
"Barricade" (10 out or 10) More Spellbound material I think. really
killer song.
"Give in this Time" (9 out of 10) AOR-esk type of tune. Ok song but
one of two tracks that didn't hit me right.
"Love Became the Law" (9 out of 10) Maybe I'm the only one to
notice but why does the chorus sound similar to "Barricade?"
Still a great song.
"The Heat" (9 out of 10) I don't know why but this is the only
track that doesn't stick to my head. I can hear the whole "Babylon"
album in my head but for some reason I can't ever recall anything
on this song other than the fade out. I should kick myself because
I know it's a great song, just not catchy.
"Silent Rain" (10 out of 10) Damn! Never have I heard such a
killer ballad all in my life! Very sad and depressing. But you
know what? Those are the ballads I like! Excellent vocals by
Gary and love the keyboards.
"Timeless" (5 out of 10) the only so-so song on the album. It
reminds me of an Yngwie track I've heard before and unfortunately,
was one of the songs I didn't care for. The rating is salvaged
because the "steal" sounds better than the original.
"Black-Hearted Woman" (15 out of 10) She doesn't need love potions
#5 #9. After the first line of this song and I automatically knew this
was gonna be one catchy song! With a music video and a ton of
advertising this song would've had potential to bring AOR/Hard
Rock back to the states (but that's just my own bias opinion).
"Thunder in Heaven" (10 out of 10) The VERY BEST Ten track I've
ever heard! Very Yngwie-esk without the flashy and repetitive
guitar solos. If there are any "steals" that others have mentioned,
this is by far better than the originals. If Ten did a full
neoclassical album I bet it'd be the best ever.
"Valentine" (10 out of 10) The ultimate piano ballad. I've heard
others but this is kickass! No steals that I can detect, and is
the best ballad of the three I think.

Overall, I give this album a 97. A few minor flaws, but much
improved production over Spellbound. You don't need loud
production to make a good album, and Ten "Babylon" proved that.
This album should never be left in mediocrity, like others have
rated this. If you do that, what you've left is one of the greatest
masterpieces of Y2K.

02/11/01: Lars Svensson - stigmata_cs@hotmail.com
Rating: 60
I have been listening on this album every now and then since the release last year, And now I have heard that a new release is set for early -02.
And I just have to say. Ten writes wonderful music as a matter of fact ther one of the best in my opinion, But please please please please please please please please please please please please please for heavens sake dont produce mix or engineer the new album yourself Gary Hughes.
Because the bitter truth is that you suck at it.

05/02/01: Hansyn - brotheramethyst@hotmail.com
Rating: 97
Well this is alot better than Spellbound. Spellbound was like an totally different style than what i'm use to. I seen them in C)Oncert an couple times In Japan and they were totally awsome. i give Self titled 90%, Name of the Rose 94%, The Robe 99% (Acradia kinda blew it) Spellbound 45% (The cover and 3 songs got the grades) and well Babylon 97%. Now as i read this I did not know Vinny Burns Left the band (DAMN YOU!!!) and Jed Rylands (i guessed left since there's an new Keyboardist) and it's like...i miss Japan. I'm in the States now and i'm getting all my friends into Ten and many other Euro Heavy Metal bands. BUT hey you all have fun and i can't wait till their next one comes out. Sayonara.

04/12/00: Matias Devit - matutedevit@hotmail.com
Rating: 80
Hi! I'm Matute,from Buenos Aires,Argentina.
Let me comment "Babylon" song by song:
-"The Stranger"
This is a great one. I don't think it is in a "Spellbound" vein. It's more on the style of "The Robe" or the Bob Catley material. It will be very difficult to take off the chorus from my head!
-"Barricade"
This is in a more rocker-sounding. It takes elements from the "It's all about love"(Ten) bridge and the "Give my love a try" chorus (from Gary's "Precious ones"). Despite the similarities, is a funny song.
-"Give in this time"
No doubt, the best song of the cd,and maybe of the year. With a little of promotion, this could be a straight-to-the-top hit all over the world. It has a very nice Diane Warren-like structure (it reminds me songs like "Cruel nights" from Heart or "Giving yourself away" by Ratt). This is pure AOR melody and emotion! Why don't they do more songs like this???
-"Love became the law"
It's a slow and obscure ballad. The tons of keyboards on the chorus made it great!
-"The heat"
Another classic AOR tune with a catchy chorus. It's on the way of classic Ten tracks like "The torch".
-"Silent rain"
Is the most important power ballad of the cd. Another potential hit.
-"Timeless"
Well,here is a weakest one(along with "Thunder in heaven". Maybe this isn't bad itself,but it has the Rainbow's "Ariel" riff and (i can't believe this) the song is note-by-note Cat Stevens' "Wild World". If Ten has a defect,it is their steals (you can read my review of "Spellbound"). Horrible.
-"Black hearted woman"
Ok,here they stand up again. Again hitting the spot with a Hard AOR future classic. Sounds like Fair Warning on their debut.
-"Thunder in heaven"
This track has nothing to do with the rest of the cd. The only reason of this one is maybe the Don Airey presence (sounds like Gary Moore's "Over the hill and far away"). The worst is that the vocals are a steal to Yngwie Malmsteen/Joe Lynn Turner song "Deja Vu",from "Odyssey". Why Gary did this one? Why doesn't he make another like "Give in this time"???? The AOR community would be pleased.
-"Valentine"
Sounds like a reflexive,slow ballad. Nice to finish.

Well,to end this,i wanna say that Ten stil can't defeat "The name of the rose" and "Ten",but "Babylon" is far better than the very bad "Spellbound". It's great to hear Ten go back to the classic AOR style,it's what they better know to do. So, if you doubt to buy "Babylon",take a listen to "Give in this time". It worth the whole album.

16/11/00: enrique - capitanfracaso@.es
Rating: 100
el 11 de nov. tocaron en madrid, fui uno mas de los afortunados que pudimos presenciar,el para mi opinion,el mejor concierto del año.si existe una palabra para expresar lo que senti por ten y gary hughes es:carisma. MARAVILLOSO AMIGUITOS

22/10/00: grimes - greg_grimes57
Rating: 10
just Awesome , Lets See Any Of You Guys Do Better, Keep Up The Great Work Gary And Team - Fan Aways Greg

22/10/00: DerekMeyer - derekameyer@cs.com
Rating: 95
This is a great mixture of Ten's earlier work and their most recent cd, "Spellbound". They have mixed some great melodicrock with songs similar in style to "Spellbound". If you are looking for eternal repeats of "The Name of the Rose" then don't buy this. This is an extremely well written release. The 3rd track--Give in this Time is classic AOR. Buy far one of the top cd's I have bought this year along with Newman's new cd, "Dance in the Fire".

12/10/00: Noddy - nod@machinemen.com
Rating: 82
Hmmm! A difficult one to review. In common with the previous reviewers I have mixed feelings about Babylon. I for one liked the Dare/Lizzy celtic feel of Spellbound, but in my opinion their only true classic album to date is The Name of The Rose. Nothing on Babylon really hits the spot in the same way as the title track, Wildest dreams, The Rainbow or Goodnight Saigon. That is not to say Timeless, The Heat and The Stranger aren't classy slices of quality melodic rock; what Babylon lacks is one real corker in the vein of the title track from the forthcoming Millenium album (For those who have heard Hourglass - Slip of the Tongue era 'Snake or what!!??)
One reason which I would point to for the slight dissappointment with Babylon is that maybe Gary Hughes has been using up all his best new material on Bob Catley's solo albums! (Legends is a classic)

10/10/00: koogles - progrocknerd@aol.com
Rating: 0
Can the mighty Ten be running out of ideas already? Spellbound's messy afterbirth, "Babylon" is largely re-hash of old ideas with Gary Hughes' vocals sadly misplaced in the mix. After a string of near-perfect releases, this shows that the band is capable of rushed and fallible output.

Best track: Give In This Time

03/10/00: Bill - bsteh@aol.com
Rating: 99
Their best cd top to bottom. The concept album idea works well, but the songs can stand alone just as easily. How many bands can sound heavy, soft, or melodic on the same album and pull it off?

01/10/00: Nick Green - A.Green@tesco.net
Rating: 6
I was really liiking forward to this album, the pre release hype had me believing that this was to be the greatest album from the band ever. In my opinion it is NOT. A poor mix taking the seperetion away from all but the guitar,vocals and occasionally the keyboards spoilt my listening pleasure. the previous album "Spellbound for me had far better sonics and variation of tunes. "Babylon" for my money is far too one dimensional. Where are the majestic pieces that have been so prevelent on previous releases? In the big picture of things this is a good album but NOT the exceptional recording I was led to believe.DISAPOINTED!

27/09/00: Peter - sabanel@go2.pl
Rating: 90
I am a huge TEN/GARY HUGHES fan.
The Almum "Babylon" is cool, except one song "Timeless".
Vinny Burns guitar riff is too similar Ritchie Blackmore's
guitar riff from the song "Ariel" ("Bent Out Of Shape").

26/09/00: Robert - roberts@thgus.com
Rating: 100
First off, I would like to say that I am a huge Ten/Gary Hughes fan. I feel that even though their style has varied album-to-album, they have always put forth a classic performance every time. Therefore my review will be a bit bias.
That said, I think this album is perfect. Perfect production, perfect songs, and perfect musicianship--just perfect.
From the opening notes of the wildly melodic "The Stranger", you know you are in for a treat. Listen to Vinny Burns shred on guitar, while Don Airey's keys add a subtle glaze over the entire track. It's hard hitting and melodic, not too far from the classic Whitesnake sound. From there it's one after another without missing a single harmony. "Give In This Time' may be AOR song of the year and "Silent Rain' is as beautiful as a huge heart-felt ballad should be without sacrificing Ten's awesome power. By the time the epic "Thunder In Heaven" hits, you are breathless. Ten displays their intensity and diversity on this finely crafted metal anthem, which owes more to Iron Maiden than anything else.
These guys have consistently shown that they are top-notch musicians and Gary Hughes has proven to be a brilliant songwriter and producer (among other things).
Babylon incorporates the best of the band's talents, borrowing from each of their last four efforts and building upon them. Fans of Whitesnake/Def Leppard-style pop metal should check this one out now.
My choice so far for Album of the Year 2000.

19/09/00: Ardian Nurcahyo - nurcahyo@tf.itb.ac.id
Rating: 100
This is a true masterpiece by the band. The addition of keyboard
legend Don Airey completed the so called "all star" line up. I
know if we took a listen the songs, we will find similarities to
Yngwie, Rainbow, Asia, or even Dare (Gary's vocals are similar to Darren's), but I just don't care... "The Heat", "Black Hearted Woman" and the heavy "Thunder In Heaven" are instant classics on the genre. I hope Don Airey will never leave the band. Rock on guys!!!

19/09/00: J.C. - jasoncoors@iol.it
Rating: 95
I loved every Ten's cd but this is simply wonderful!Powerful yet melodic...Ten are the kings of melodic hard rock!

18/09/00: Jon Innes - jon_innes@hotmail.com
Rating: 9
Ten - Babylon
I wasn’t initially going to get this CD, but now I’m glad I did. I was never a big fan of the band, but decided to pick up their first two albums because I’m a big Dare fan and wanted to hear what Vinny Burns had been doing since leaving. My first reaction to their debut was that it was pretty good - great guitars, good hooks and vocals, but it didn’t really grab me. The vocals were sometimes a little too ‘over the top’ and the subject matter of the lyrics all tended to be the same. For these reasons I didn’t get their next few albums, but saw some good reviews for the last album ‘Spellbound’ so I picked it up last year. It was by far the best I had heard from Ten, although it still seemed to lack something that would really take the band to the next level, although it did feature one or two amazing tracks. Well, after hearing a few samples from ‘Babylon’ on the bands website I was very curious and ordered the CD. This album smokes and is simply the best thing the band has released to date. Burns’ guitars are all over the place (it’s nice to finally hear him let rip) and the vocal style of Gary Hughes has matured from a high, ‘screaming’ style into a lower, more accessible range that really complements the material. Then there are the songs - hats off to Hughes, who has progressed as a songwriter to the point where, out of 10 songs on the CD, there are at least 6 that are exceptional. From up-tempo rockers like ‘Barricade’ to the soaring power ballad ‘Silent Rain’ (this song is HUGE and deserves to be a hit) to more middle-of-the-road tunes like ‘Give In This Time’, this is one of the strongest rock releases I’ve heard in the past few years, and rightfully deserves the chart success it seems to be having in Europe. A few of the tunes are very similar in sound to late-80’s Whitesnake (at their peak), but without the almost too-raspy David Coverdale on vocals. Think a ‘poppier’ Whitesnake and you’ll have some idea of how this sounds. Coming from someone who was initially somewhat apprehensive about trying this CD - trust me - it is fantastic and deserves at least one listen. It hasn’t left my CD player for a week and probably won’t for some time. One small fault though - the whole 'concept' album idea is unnecessary. Without reading the liner notes, you wouldn't know it was a concept album, and the voice-overs between songs just leave me waiting for more music. Putting this one small negative aspect aside, this album is amazing.

18/09/00: wiljan vriens - w.vriens@tenrules.com
Rating: 90
The day the album went for sale in europe, i rushed to my dealer.
when i got home and put it in the cd player the first song THE STRANGER made me feel dizzy such fabulas guitars.
then the next song i loved was GIVE IN THIS TIME really give me a cold chill so beautifull and gary rules in this song (great singing)
then the next was BLACK HEARTED WOMAN this song really rules really my favorite track from ten, i can't explain really GOOD!!!.
then came THUNDER IN HEAVEN and i thought what the fuck is this, this is no melodic this is metal really cool guyes.:)
so in my opinion this is the second best album they made the first is SPELLBOUND


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