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TEN
FAR BEYOND THE WORLD

Now & Then / Frontiers FRCD 099
Produced by: Gary Hughes / Mixed by: Tommy Newton

Released: December 10 / Website
Closest Relative:
GENRE:
OVERALL: 94%

  1. Glimmer Of Evil
  2. Strange Land
  3. High Tide
  4. What About Me?
  5. Last Of The Lovers
  6. Outlawed And Notorious
  7. Scarlet And The Grey
  8. Heart Like A Lion
  9. Black Shadows
  10. Who Do You Want To Love?
  11. Far Beyond The World

There are not many bands in this scene that can get to album number seven these days. And as a band, Ten do have their detractors. But those that haven't given the band a chance or have failed to give the songs the time they deserve may just be missing out on some classic melodic rock.
I loved the band's debut and then had a period of time when I wasn't for or against the band. Their Spellbound album caught my attention early on and I have been a devoted fan ever since. Their last album matched the heavy rock of Spellbound with the more melodic tone of their debut. Far Beyond The World is different again.
After seven albums' it is also harder to nail which release is exactly their best. That job is made easier with Far Beyond The World, as we have an album that takes in the best power riffs the band offers, with a more commercial and hook friendly list of songs and easily the best sounding Ten album to date, thanks to the additional mixing of Tommy Newton.
Ten have moved through a few different sounds, while retaining the trademark sound of Gary Hughes' vocals and Vinny Burns' guitar playing. This album takes from the debut, from Name Of The Rose, from Babylon and from Gary's own solo album.
Collectively, I rank this album up there with the band's best ever, as I really like the songs and style the guys have chosen this time around.
Importantly, as I have said - there is something for everyone, but simply put, it is packed with great hooks and melodies. This album rocks, but it's not heavy. This album is more about songs and melodies and I like that a lot.
The first sing that things are a little different on Far Beyond The World is the first song Glimmer Of Evil. Gone is the long winded intro, rather a subtler and more laid back intro that heads straight into the song, even if the vocals still take a little while to appear. When they do, it's immediate to the listener that this is the sharpest sounding Ten album to date, with a great tone set, especially with the rhythm section.
The song features a great guitar riff, which is intense without being dominant and the chorus and vocals are both fairly subdued. I especially like the changing drum beat through the song.
The guitar riff on Strange Land is a little heavier again, but the song itself is not. Gary's vocals are very smooth and the chorus is memorable, without being an anthem. Vinny shines with a great solo mid song.
High Tide caught my ear immediately. This is the heaviest song of the album and comes straight out of the Ozzy Osbourne / Zakk Wylde song book. The guitar riff is awesome and the beat a little more frantic. Still, Gary's vocals and the added harmony vocals keep it melodic and hook filled. A typical big Ten chorus is kept short and the song remains one for those fans of the Spellbound album.
Track 4 and it's time for a ballad, which one must admit, this band do particularly well. What About Me? is the first of two power ballads on the album and should keep all fans of Gary Hughes and Ten's ballads happy.
Next up, Last Of The Lovers gets heavy again, but Gary's vocals remain soft, but firm, leading a short verse into a strong bridge and an extended vocal lead chorus.
Another fabulous melodic rocker is Outlawed And Notorious. This is Ten doing what they do best - a hard hitting guitar driven riff-fest, overtaken come chorus time by a great wave of harmonies, all while maintaining the fist pumping tempo.
Scarlet And The Grey caught my attention especially. With some very strong lead vocals, the song's verse is again guitar dominated, only to recede to a big melodic anthem chorus, filled with layers of harmony vocals. A particularly strong melodic chorus.
A change in tempo sees a style that I haven't heard from ten previously. Heart Like A Lion is a moody keyboard / synth dominated track with a soft Journey style guitar riff. This very laid back and atmospheric track bursts to life with a much heavier chorus and back, again. It's a very strong tarck and breaks the pace of the album nicely. A track that probably wouldn't be out of place on a Gary Hughes solo album.
Time to rock again! Black Shadows sees the band rocking hard again, with Vinny playing his heart out over a rock track that still features a very melodic hook friendly lead vocal. Another strong chorus and another album high point.
Who Do You Want To Love? features another unusual keyboard sound, layered several times over into an anthem feel and combined with Vinny's guitar work to take it completely over the top. The verse hollows out again to leave the vocal and keyboards, then it's bang into a big melodic anthem chorus, straight out of the Ten handbook. A different track that breaks the mould, while retaining familiar elements of the band's sound. Very cool.
Far Beyond The World rounds out the album, finishing with a big sentimental and powerful power ballad.
Special mention to new member Paul Hodson (Hard Rain), who's keyboard playing on this album is major league. It's throughout every song, adding to the tapestry of the album, yet with Tommy's mixing of the album, it is perfectly placed.
BOTTOM LINE: The established fan base of Ten should see this album as another fabulous addition to the band's catalogue of music. It stands out to me as an album that tries some new tricks, while retaining everything that people have found to love in the band.
Sad to see Vinny Burns leave the band, as his performance here is outstanding and Gary's songs as usual, are powerful, melodic and more personal than the last few Ten albums. For that reason, the album makes a better connection with me and I rate it as one of the band's best to date. I gave their last album 92, therefore I must mark higher again this time.
Add that to the excellent production and mix and fans of melodic hard rock have one of the better albums for the year.
PRODUCTION: 93% SONGS: 95% VIBE: 94%ATTITUDE: 95%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Ten and Gary Hughes and Vinny Burns. Fans of good melodic European style hard rock.
DISCOGRAPHY:Ten . The Name Of The Rose . The Robe . Never Say Goodbye . Spellbound . Babylon . Far Beyond The World


15/06/06: Peter Kiss - peteshifter@yahoo.com
Rating: 60
Sure, there are some great hooks, but listening to the songs, you have the feeling that they are drawn out much too long: after 2 or 3 minutes each of them gets a little boring. Also, I wasn't exactly amazed by Gary's voice - maybe it's just me, but it sounds weak and flat to my ears.

24/08/05: Ivone - samuraisword@ig.com .br
Rating: 94
This one was the first album (by Ten) I purchased. I have doubts as for this title. When I listened to this... Hummmnn... Once again Mr. Hughes and Mr. Burns did a great album! There is a climax, as for the sound, between the future and the space. It seems that we are at the sideral space with the flying discs etc...So far, It is the Ten's best album!

04/05/04: Mark Kennedy - Clareandmark@freenetname.co.uk
Rating: 95
The first time I played this I was a little unsure,but I can tell you that after a few plays it all comes together.Its a great album just like all of Tens previous efforts and perhaps the only difference is the production(which is slightly meaty).If you like your 80's rock like myself , you won't get much better than Ten.My favourite tracks would have to be'High Tide','Heart like a Lion' and 'Black Shadows' as I feel the rockers are much stronger than the ballads(and the ballads are good!!!).So to conclude my review I must insist that you buy this album and support Ten because they never fail to deliver the goods.

29/11/03: Almir - almirfus@terra.com.br
Rating: 95
My God we're in the end of 2003 and only now I discovered TEN.
What a great musician Gary Hughes is.
This is by far one of the best cds I bought in my life.
The only down side is "Who do you want to love".
"Strange Land" is so good that it brings tears to my eyes!
Yes, it is a little bit comercial but WTF. We like it!

04/06/02: Zorro11 - veron_zorro11@yahoo.it
Rating: 100
Ten are the best, 110 is a little rating for this album.... -Z11

07/03/02: Danny - danielhayes13@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
TEN – Far Beyond the World (2001, Now and Then/Frontiers Records)

I approached this album with more than a little trepidation. TEN have been my favourite melodic rock band ever since their second album – The Name of the Rose, and although initial reports promised a return to the sound of that release, there were a number of other factors that left a distinctly sour taste in my mouth: the absence of Don Airey, the mention of a turn to the sound of Gary Hughes’ solo material, the lacklustre cover art, and the departure of co-founder and lead guitarist Vinny Burns. It’s clear from the outset that drastic changes are taking place in the TEN camp. I’m glad to be able to say that, for the most part, I needn’t have worried, although there are some notable exceptions which I shall detail below.

I should say firstly that the interior art was much, much better than the cover, and I would have preferred to have seen the double-page centre spread used on the front of the album.

‘Glimmer of Evil’ is a great opener with a memorable hookline and chorus. The mix has been vastly improved by Tommy Newton: the drums are crisp and sharp, and the rhythm section thunders along with a clarity we haven’t really heard before. This track clicked with me straight away, and is sure to become a fan favourite.

‘Strange Land’ is a natural progression from ‘Glimmer of Evil’. They share the same territory – catchy, driven anthems full of mood and desperation. A perfect pairing of songs.

‘High Tide’ kicks in with a sassy, aggressive guitar riff and it’s clear we’re back in Spellbound territory. The verse has similarities with ‘Into the Pyramid of Light’, but the chorus rises into an anthem that will sound intensely familiar to fans of TEN’s past work.

‘What About Me’ is the first of two ballads on the album, and while (on the first listen) it doesn’t reach the heights of tracks such as ‘You’re In My Heart’ or ‘Standing In Your Light’, it has a wonderfully singable chorus that will stay with you. This manages to be commercial while just retaining the edge that gives TEN their own identity. Coming across as somewhat schmaltzy on the first spin, this song is a real grower once you’re in the right mood.

‘Last of the Lovers’ opens up, and within the first few bars it’s apparent that the song comes from the same mould as the title track of Spellbound or ‘Barricade’ from the band’s last album. I found it difficult to appreciate the track on its own merits because of the similarity to those songs, which (let’s face it) were already fairly derivative.

‘Outlawed and Notorious’ is what we’ve been waiting for. A frantic, galloping shred-fest in the style of ‘Red’. The drum sound is particularly sharp and crisp on this track, and rhythm guitarist John Halliwell gets to let loose. It took me a while to identify why the chorus sounded familiar, but I finally realised that it sounds a little like a variation on the guitar-introduction to ‘Dreams’ from Bob Catley’s first solo album. Vinny Burns’ guitar playing on this track is brilliant, and makes you realise how much he contributes to the TEN sound, and therefore how much he’s going to be missed.

‘Scarlet and the Grey’ is the opener on the Japanese release of the album, but I think it makes much more sense to have it in the middle of the album. It’s an upbeat, sunny track rather than the epic, dark rocker I was expecting given the lyrical content. Once again, my only problem is that the chorus sounds derivative – this time it’s ‘Already Gone’ from Vinny Burns’ solo album I keep hearing. I was a little disappointed that the track wasn’t more grandiose and pompous, and stuck to a standard structure, but nevertheless it’s a strong number which is sure to delight the fans.

‘Heart Like a Lion’ shifts the pace of the album. As many reviewers have already mentioned, this could well be a Bob Catley song (which is no bad thing in my book!). Gary’s singing in a low, deep register which some fans have criticised, but which I really like. It makes a nice contrast with the high pitched tones of the rest of the album, and allows the listener to appreciate the rich, velvetly texture of his voice in the lower octaves. The imagery, style, and delivery make this track stand out from the others, and offers a nice example of experimentation in an album which has played it comparatively safe until this point. One of the highlights.

‘Black Shadows’ is a classic TEN rocker, following a familiar structure. It does sound a little similar to the other songs on the album, but remains a solid track in its own right. It’s a song that takes repeated listens to fully appreciate, surrounded as it is by so many other high quality offerings. The chorus, in particular, is very immediate.

And now the low point! ‘Who Do You Want to Love’ is, in my opinion, one of the worst songs TEN have recorded as a band. The cheesy, outdated keyboard sound that it opens with is positively cringeworthy, and the lyrics are clichéd and substandard for a writer of Gary’s obvious talent. This should have been a Gary Hughes solo song – it doesn’t belong on a TEN album. This is just what I was afraid of hearing! It doesn’t work in the context of the surrounding songs, and the 80s production (which reminds me of Then and Now-era Asia) is jarring when compared with the harder, more modern sound of the rest of the CD.

As a huge fan of TEN’s ballads, I found the closer – ‘Far Beyond the World’, ever-so slightly disappointing on its first spin. It may have simply been its grouping with ‘Who Do You Want to Love’ that coloured my listening, but I thought that it was in serious danger of crossing the line from commerciality to boy-band schmaltz. Nevertheless, subsequent listens reveals it as a good Gary Hughes ballad that lacks the extra special element that might put it in the same league as “Silent Rain” or “Standing In Your Light”.

This is a very, very good album indeed. My only criticism is that it plays it just a little too safe for my liking. Babylon wavered between extremes, and was a work of great diversity, whereas the songs on Far Beyond the World arguably occupy quite similar territory. As a result, a few of tracks fail to become the standout songs they might be if included on an album of different material. The quality of the production, songwriting, and performance is very, very high, and were this coming from any other melodic rock band I would be very satisfied indeed. But this is TEN, and we’ve all come to expect something surprising from them. This album satisfies, but doesn’t surprise.

Generally, this album is too commercial for my tastes – the structures a little too simple, the tracks a little too similar to previous works. I like to see bands stretching themselves more, whereas TEN seem to be treading water on this release. Another key problem is maintaining a distinction between Gary’s simpler, laid-back solo material and the heavy yet melodic TEN material. The majority of the tracks here are distinctly TEN, although the last two sound rather awkward when placed with the other songs. What’s missing are the qualities that made me fall in love with the band in the first place: the sense of experimentation, the storytelling, the epic and pompous side to their sound, the complex and mysterious lyrical content that communicated majesty while remaining tied to the emotive and the personal. My hunch is that Gary is purposely saving these qualities for use on his Once and Future King project, or for future Bob Catley material, which is a shame as that’s what I was constantly wanting to hear on this album. The songs are all very strong, but two or three of them sound a little too polished and faceless, lacking the sense of sheer atmosphere that graced the songs on previous releases.

My lasting impression is that this is a very strong album that fans of the debut and Gary Hughes solo release will adore, but that somehow falls a short of the reach displayed previously. The album is certainly more consistent than Babylon, but lacks the epic, atmospheric qualities that drew fans like me to the band. Even so, it’s a great piece of work, lyrically and musically, and I suspect that the commercial approach may well be a prelude to a progressive or un-commercial sound on the next album (which would make this album a shrewd, considered move on Gary’s part). My concern is that some of the band’s audience will feel excluded by such intense concentration on a single style. Nevertheless, Gary and company have fully achieved what they set out to do with this album, and it will find a place among the top 10 albums of the year.

BOTTOM LINE: A very worthy addition to the TEN back catalogue that targets fans of their debut and Gary Hughes’ solo albums rather than fans of the band’s epic and progressive sides.

- Daniel Hayes.




02/02/02: TIM - wprd220@adelphia.net
Rating: 95
Ten have let it all hang out here, and it shows. This is their best effort yet, by far. From the spine tingling "Glimmer Of Evil" which sounds like it came from a rocky movie.. (I get the chills when I hear it) to the heartwrenching ballads "What About Me?" and "Far Beyond The World" This cd has it all. The ballad "What About Me?" could be No. 1 on the charts anywhere in the world if it was advertised/marketed aggressively. The catchy melody and chorus of this song will be burned into your brain and you will find yourself singing it in your head all day long. Immediately, as soon as the music starts, the production smacks you right in the face. The music is crystal clear and crisp. The vocals are perfectly placed in the mix as well as every other instrument. Not a bad thing I can say about this release. Do yourself a favor and add this one to your collection. This is a must have.

27/01/02: Jonny B - froloth@hotmail.com
Rating: 96
"Far Beyond the World" is definitely the most melodic sounding Ten release as compared to "Babylon" and "Spellbound", the two releases that got me hooked on Ten to begin with. It sounds more in vein of they're earlier releases, which I'm only a casual fan of. But unlike the Ten of old, I can't really pick out a song that stands out in "Far Beyond the World". The album as a whole just flat out rocks! I'm not sure if I'd rank it ahead of "Babylon", my fav Ten release (I'd have to give it a few more listens), but it's pretty damn close!

26/01/02: Max - Instant_Maxcess@aol.com
Rating: 100
Ten rocks. A heavy album, not as heavier as Spellbound, but more melodic. Gary Hughes vocal and production chops are flawless. Vinny Burns is a truly way underrated guitar player. Full on musicianship and excellent songwriting. Love the ballads on the album, as well as the opener three tracks, but the whole album is brilliant.

31/12/01: Derek Meyer - derekameyer@cs.com
Rating: 100
WOW!!! I have to say that this is only the 2nd cd that i have purchased and felt was a "must have". (The of other was D2-Cockroach) This 6th studio release from Ten, I believe, is their best work. I think it is marginally better than "Babylon" and much better than "Spellbound". The opening track "Glimmer of Evil" is exceptional. My personal fav is "High Tide". Holy crap I am tired of reviewing this cd--I need to listen again, again, and again. In conclusion, buy this cd or die!!!!!

17/12/01: Noddy - jonferg@nortelnetworks.com
Rating: 95
After the first few bars of the intro to Glimmer of Evil, it is clear that Ten have at last recorded an album to rank alongside The Name of the Rose. Track by track, this initial feeling is consolidated by the strength and depth of tracks like Strange Land, Scarlet and Grey and the brooding brilliance of Heart Like a Lion. Ten's last three releases have been patchy affairs which I have constantly cited as being due to Gary's strongest writing efforts going on Bob Catley's solo albums. With Middle Earth behind him and Catley preparing to breathe new life into Magnum, Far Beyond the World could be a glorious new beginning for Ten. Very sad news for all fans that Vinny Burns has chosen this time to leave the band.

12/12/01: ronnie van de veen - r.vdveen@chello.nl
Rating: 99
Hello everybody

What a good cd, come on everyone buy it so it will be nr.1
holland rocks!!!!!!!!!
my favorites: HIGH TIDE,GLIMMER OF EVIL & WHO DO YOU WANT TO LOVE
Ten rule the world

ronnie

08/12/01: w.vriens - blaat@hotmail.com
Rating: 96
Hy everyone

Fist of all i wanna say that i bought this album a week ago!!!
The release date is 10 december(europe) but i think they made a fault down at the distribution because i wanted to place an order to get it at the exact date of release but then a day after they called to say it was there so (i happy) i jumped over there an bought it.

The albums really great because it is so different that the last one (babylon) The songs are not so dramatic and you can feel the songs, you know

Glimmer of evil is good but the only song i least like because it's like a song from the other albums.
Then comes Strange land and wow ( i've heard it earlier at the gods and it stayed in my head) this really great.
High tide is good but it doesn't stay.
What about me rules really, i fell in love with this song the first time i heard it, the chorus is so packed with gary's emotions great
Last of the lovers, Outlaw, Scarlet, are really great to and that's it.
Heart like a lion rules again, The second best song on the album fist it begins with an relaxed mood and then burst into this atmospheric chorus that captured my attention and that of a few friends and they diddn't ten at first but now they they are able to listen to it :)
black shadows good and then comes the The best and most commercial song ten made WHO DO YOU WANT TO LOVE really ****ing great man i love it but i was very suprised really, first a intro 1.15 minutes and then the vocals it begins with one and end up with 100 Listen to it yourself
and the album ends like any other TEN album with a ballad and this one is great like no other song far beyond the world

w.vriens


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