Rock Eyez Webzine
Rock Eyez
Rock Eyez Webzine

Return to Evermore
AOR / Melodic Hard Rock
8.5 / 10
Intensity Records
Release Date:


The prolific British hard rock band, Ten has only been around since 1996 but have just released their 7th studio album. The new album, Return to Evermore is a return – no pun intended – to the sound of their earlier work. Ten started out as more of an AOR/melodic rock act with their self-titled debut on Now and Then Records but their subsequent albums turned to a heavier side. I have always liked their complete body of work but I have to admit their sound started to become a bit stagnant. It almost became hard to tell which song came from which album after a while. Possibly it was a product of being so productive… maybe songwriter, Gary Hughes didn't have time to “grow”?

After releasing albums every year from 1996 to 2001 Hughes finally took some time off from Ten and turned to some production work and then a “solo” project in the form of the two-part rock opera, Once and Future King based on the life and times of King Arthur. The albums featured guest vocalists such as Sean Harris (Diamond Head), Bob Catley (Magnum), Danny Vaughn (Tyketto & Vaughn) and progressive rock queen Lana Lane, amongst others. Hughes himself played the part of King Arthur. Finally when Hughes turned his attention back to Ten it seems he was left without a guitarist as long-time member Vinny Burns (ex- Ultravox, Dare & Asia) had left the group to concentrate on a solo career. Ten recruited young guitar whiz Chris Francis and set out to record a new album.

Well I'm happy to say the new record is nothing short of a great mix of the melodic AOR of the debut along with some of the heavier elements of the latter albums. The album opens with “Apparition”, a heavy rocker with a chugging, almost Judas Priest-like, guitar riff. This eight-minute epic track is a nice way to open the album. Next up is “Dreamtide,” a mid-paced song with a very melodic chorus. A nice solo from Francis is a highlight. Track 3, “Evermore,” starts out with a cool Celtic flavor ala the great Thin Lizzy. This is a sound they touched upon with on their 1999, Spellbound album and something I wish they would do more of as I think it's one of the stronger tracks on the album. The ballad “Sail Away” follows and has that epic sound that the Ten ballad has almost become known for. “Temple of Love” is a total AOR track with a great chorus and sounds as though it could have been lifted from the debut record. Check out the solo from Francis on this track… it just might make you think “Vinny who?” Another great track follows in “Even the Ghosts Cry.” This might be the purest of the AOR tracks on the whole album. The chorus will be stuck in your head for days… guaranteed. Further tracks like “Evil's on Top in the World” and “Stay Awhile” show that Ten is back in a big way. Final track “Tearing My Heart Out” is somewhat a change of pace for the band. Traditionally their albums end with an epic ballad, but not this time around. The song is not only a mid-paced affair but has a different sound than I've heard from Ten before. Maybe it's a sign of things to come on future albums. Who knows, but with some time off to rejuvenate and a new guitarist added to the mix Ten have become a fresh band again. Return to Evermore is certainly a return to form... uh, that time some pun was intended!


Band members:

Gary Hughes – Vocals

John Halliwell – Guitars

Paul Hodson – Keyboards

Greg Morgan – Drums

Steve McKenna – Bass

Chris Francis – Guitars


Track list:

  1. Apparition
  2. Dreamtide
  3. Evermore
  4. Sail Away
  5. Temple Of Love
  6. Even the Ghosts Cry
  7. Strangers in the Night
  8. Evil's on Top in the World
  9. The One
  10. Lost Soul
  11. Stay A While
  12. Tearing My Heart Out



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