10 Years
Minus the Machine


2.0
poor

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
August 11th, 2012 | 33 replies | 4,530 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A mind-numbingly boring, and ultimately forgettable affair.

10 Years haven’t spent the past decade changing too much about themselves. Their past 5 outings have seen the group pretty content with rehashing their same old brand of radio-ready alt metal that becomes increasingly more polished with each release. Up until their newest offering and sixth studio album Minus the Machine, the band’s only real noticeable progression towards any new ground has been striving to make themselves more accessible to the point of thinning their sound down excessively, opting for simple hooks over actual substance.

For Minus the Machine however, 10 Years have decided to divert from this redundant course, and instead attempt to adapt their sound to the more raw vibes of the type of alternative metal found in Adrenaline-era Deftones and Undertow-era Tool, the type of atmosphere that served as the band’s main source of inspiration for their second album Killing All That Holds You.

This in no way makes Minus the Machine a proper return to form or roots though, as 10 Years do not make any advancements or changes to themselves while in pursuit of this route, let alone improve upon themselves. The band keeps the sound and structure that they have crafted over their past few albums, but instead of making adjustments to form the raw sound they had in mind, they simply decided to just drop the accessibility and hook-dependency they founded on their album Division, which was a huge factor of their sound. Deciding to completely abandon a considerably large part of one’s music can work without issue if the rest of the music around the lost aspect changes to mend the hole, but 10 Years don’t do that here, they just lose all of their radio-friendly hooks, a dominating part of their known sound, as the rest remains unaltered.

If 10 Years wasn’t so generic to begin with and didn’t rely on surface-based hooks, then this casualty wouldn’t leave such a heavy impact. Allowing a noticeable loss to be the sole method of effecting the music not only leaves Minus the Machine with no potential singles or catchy and memorable songs, it makes the album the definition of a step backwards in the band’s career, the first step in a process of devolution.

Minus the Machine retains the same plain and contrived grit of the third-rate alternative metal on their last album Feeding the Wolves, but it’s a retread through these familiar shallow waters without any of the run-of-the-mill appeal. At least the polished and clean production that 10 Years used to have gave them basic post-grunge choruses that couldn’t help but get stuck in one’s head for a short while, but without that guiding them, this is left sounding stale and bland.

Minus the Machine has very limited production, but this gives a more underdeveloped impression than the intended raw one. The music seems under-produced with everything sounding muted and subdued. This makes the already toothless and watered-down music itself come across as even less engaging. The vocals on every track are virtually indistinguishable from one another, much like the guitars. A track consists of the band plodding away at the same old predictable and repetitive riff that doesn’t chug enough to be nu metal but is too sporadic and staggering to be true alternative metal, as vocalist Jesse Hasek belts out his best Maynard James Keenan impersonation while bellowing melody patterns that merely sound harmonious without conveying or expressing any sense of interesting emotional depth.

Those who draw comparisons between the singing styles of Hasek and Keenan would be wrong to indirectly compare 10 Years to Tool, as the alternative rock of 10 Years is much more similar in style to Keenan’s other band A Perfect Circle, a style that Hasek manages to replicate only one track into the album on the bare end of the chorus of the title track.

Songs are arranged poorly and appear disjointed, with more ambitious aspects of songs such as the Asian-esque jingles of the backing guitar in the intro of “Writing on the Walls”, the weak excuse for ominous foreboding that engulfs the track “Forever Fields”, and the jagged drum stuttering in the climax of “Knives”, sounding more patched into the tracks instead of working with the rest of the music as a cohesive whole, as if the rest of the music is treated as generic filler until something slightly different changes the pace. 10 Years also experiment with odd time signatures on the single “Backlash” but only succeed in being scattered with pieces that hardly match, and do so in an awkward fashion.

For an album were every track bleeds into the next through interludes that contain seamless transitions, the album is severely lacking in any momentum whatsoever. With more attention than needed given to the certain moments in the songs such as riffs and vocals with nothing backing them, the album sounds unbalanced and uneven and comes together as barely aesthetically presentable.

Minus the Machine is at times excruciatingly dull, and a straight listen through is not advised for this very reason. The album comes and goes, passing the listener by without evoking much out of them or leaving much of anything that will stay with them, being underwhelming as can be and devoid of anything deserving of attention the entire way through, and all without even containing a trace of a single hook. This album marks a few leaps backwards for the band with no progress being made, as 10 Years are still what they always were, but even less so in one major category.

They still present their influences in their execution without any finesse. They simply regurgitate their influences and don’t posses any of the quirks that their influences have, reducing the sound to streamlined status in the process. Minus the Machine sees 10 years in their worst condition to date, representing the infinitely greater bands they take inspiration from as nothing more than a vague silhouette.



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user ratings (105)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (3.5)
10 Years is done feeding the wolves....

Caleb C. (3)
Too much throwing at walls, and not quite enough sticking....

Kyle Boucher (3.5)
A solid release that combines the sounds of an overlooked band's career....


Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
August 11th 2012


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I know I promised to submit this earlier but certain matters came up and the only free time I could find to write it was at 2 in the morning, so there's probably many grammar mistakes, but I probably did a shitty job proofreading because of how tired I am, and I'm too tired to edit at the moment. About the album, honestly one of my least favorite albums of the entire year, as supporter of 10 Years I am very disappointed. Anyway, hope you guys like the review.

Digging: Cathedrals - Cathedrals EP

aok
August 11th 2012


4417 Comments


lots of good descriptions but it reads a little long atm alex. pair of fresh eyes will probably do the trick tomorrow. solid job

Digging: Aphex Twin - Syro

breakingthefragile
August 11th 2012


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks a lot man, and yeah, definitely gonna go over this after I rest up.

Acanthus
August 11th 2012


9542 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Seems like this band has people really divided as of late. Pos sir, was a good read and I can see your thought process behind the rating easily.

I enjoy the bands vocals now more than I did on their early work (The Autumn Effect), and need to listen to Division. The lead singers vocals make this a memorable album for me, and I am one of the few who enjoy listening straight through this.

As for comparisons to Tool I can see how people used to do so, but the only track I've ever found that, to me, invoked Manyard was "Fade Into (The Ocean)"

Digging: Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood

Alondite
August 11th 2012


161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't really pos this based on a few things.

For one, it reads as if you weren't really even trying to be objective. It comes off like you're
"offended" that they didn't write the type of album you thought they should.

The production is exquisite. "Muted and muffled"? If anything the production is a bit bright.
Dynamics, soundstaging, and clarity are all excellent. My HD800s are damn near perfectly transparent
to source, and this is clear as a bell through them.

Now personally, I find their lack of hooks to be the best part of this album, because they've
replaced them with real substance. This is a more adventurous "The Autmn Effect" with far more
diversity, more relevant, less "pretentious" poetic lyrical themes, and more interesting
instrumental work and vocal progressions at every turn.

I've listened through it in its entirety 39 times so far according to Foobar, and I enjoy it even
more every single time. I've never been so completely absorbed and impressed by an album since
"Lateralus." Literally everything you said is exactly the opposite of how I feel about it.

benkim
August 11th 2012


2104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0


I enjoy the bands vocals now more than I did on their early work (The Autumn Effect),
*****
Wow!! I am the complete opposite on this. His performance on TAE is one of my favorites. He absolutely killed it on Prey especially. The emotion in his voice in TAE is what puts TAE above the vocals in this.

ZedO
August 11th 2012


1096 Comments


good review, I have no idea about the album, might check this one out...

benkim
August 11th 2012


2104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I disagree and agree with your review on a lot of points is seems.
I also noticed this.
"The music seems under-produced..."
"Songs are arranged poorly and appear disjointed,..."

But I completely disagree with this!!
This album marks a few leaps backwards for the band with no progress being made
Minus the Machine sees 10 years in their worst condition to date,

The only problem I have with the album is production and the track listing as I find the album fails to flow seamlessly like their previous efforts. Otherwise, I found the band really progressed their sound in this album and are more and more developing their own sound instead of relying on their influences and using catchy hooks than before. If you came into this album expecting catchy hooks and choruses like in their previous efforts, then the album would bore you but if you get your head round what they were trying to accomplish then you will fully appreciate the album.

Still, have a pos.

BTW when I first listened to this album, I knew from the start that this album would absolutely divide opinion and I was right.

benkim
August 11th 2012


2104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Also disagree with this...
"Minus the Machine retains the same plain and contrived grit of the third-rate alternative metal on their last album Feeding the Wolves..."

The grit on FTW was contrived that is true and the main reason I did not like that album but on this, you can't really say that. You can actually hear that the bass (which I hated on FTW) is 10X better here.

Maniac!
August 11th 2012


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"disagree with opinion

will neg"

benkim
August 11th 2012


2104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not necessarily. He does make some good points and he explains them well.


Storm In A Teacup
August 11th 2012


12780 Comments


i don't understand how they fell so miserably in quality

Maniac!
August 11th 2012


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It was bound to happen

aok
August 11th 2012


4417 Comments


as if you weren't really even trying to be objective


you gave this album a 5 and refuse to pos based on the fact that you liked the album and he didn't. and he's the one who isn't objective?

Alondite
August 11th 2012


161 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wrong. I didn't pos because of the lack of objectivity and inaccurate critique of the production.

breakingthefragile
August 11th 2012


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Dude I don't know what you want, none of my ratings or reviews are based on any personal preferences
or prejudices, if anything I think your rating is inacurate and lacks objectivity. I mean come on,
you're telling me this is a 5? That this is one of the greatest albums of all time, on par with the
quality of the likes of Radiohead, or The Beatles, and a classic album that will be remembered for
years to come? Because that's what constitutes a 5 rating.

Maniac!
August 11th 2012


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I didn't pos because of the lack of objectivity and inaccurate critique of the production. "


LOL OL O L L LOOL L LLOL AHHAHAH AHA AHAHAHA AHAH AFSASD QWET GS COUGH HACK WHEEZE LOL

OBJECTIVITY IN MUSIC

HACK WHEEZE LOL

aok
August 11th 2012


4417 Comments


inaccurate critique of the production


http://chzmemebase.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/memes-fry-can-never-tell.jpg

SoxRock
August 11th 2012


27 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do like how you voiced your opinion on whether or not the production brought the intended raw effect on the vocals. While I feel that it worked for the most part, I truly feel that this album will polarize the whole fanbase. While critical of a lot (you didn't like the album so very understandable), I did enjoy reading the review to see a different perspective.

breakingthefragile
August 11th 2012


2956 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@SoxRock I was anxious to see what you'd think of the review since we have such differing opinions and you did a great job with your review of this, so I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks man. I'm glad to see that two opposing sides can have respectful discussions rather than raging arguments, that's all I ask for, so thanks for that as well.



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