Review Summary: Too much throwing at walls, and not quite enough sticking.
4 of 4 thought this review was well written
10 Years are a “gateway” type of band. Their ability to take the modern rock style of their contemporaries and shift it to something that is something genuinely more than radio rock has been impressive. With their major label debut The Autumn Effect, and its follow-up Division, they showed how the music could be singles for the radio while still forming a cohesive, artful album for the more critical listener. Then with 2010’s Feeding the Wolves, we saw 10 Year’s come back to the pack a bit. The album did just as its title indicated, gave the record exec’s something to sell. This was a disappointment to many of the fans 10 Years had presented any sort of “gateway” to, and in fact, was a disappointment to the band itself. Thus, we were given a 2012’s aptly titled Minus the Machine, and attempt to bring back the things that made 10 Years special in the past.
It should be noted that this is an independent release by the band. And it’s almost too obvious. It’s apparent that the band themselves are not use to having this type of creative freedom. The amount of ideas swirling around within this albums 44 minute runtime is impressive. The problem however, is the lack of precision that this leads to within the songwriting department. The album opens with the hard hitting “Minus the Machine” and “Battle Lust”, both of which are clear attempts to say, “Hey, we can rock super hard when no one is holding us back!” to their fans. Of course this backfires a bit, as the songs end up being just that, heaviness for the sake of heaviness.
Next up, we have “Forever Fields”, which isn’t a bad track per se, if nothing but for the reason that it is a clear attempt to bring back that famous 10 Years’ atmosphere back into the fray. And it’s a welcome sound to be sure. The problem lies in the fact that the song turns out to be pretty much entirely atmosphere, and no real substance. Yet, it’s not until we reach the end of this song and it becomes clear what the album is really missing, something this band has spoiled us into expecting from every release, and that’s a sense of cohesiveness from start to finish.
The rest of the album is considerably more finely tuned from a songwriting perspective. The songs become less of a reminder of what’s possible, to actually using these possibilities to form more solid songs. From the haunting finger-picking of “Writing on the Walls” to the impressive bass line leading the way in “Soma”, we see that the potential is clearly still there for 10 Years. And, with the exception of the momentum killing chorus of “Knives”, it all works on an individual song basis. It seems that this album was a necessary stepping stone to get away from the vices of the mainstream rock world, and move towards the realm where 10 Years is the most comfortable. It just so happens that they weren’t fully ready for this new found freedom, and, like a kid let loose in a toy store, just couldn’t keep their hands off of absolutely everything.
I disagree about the whole gateway band thing, because if they're a gateway band,
than they are a gateway to the sound of Tool and Deftones, and those bands are
already gateway bands to post-punk and progressive metal, and chances are that
you'll definitely hear about Tool and Deftones before you catch wind of 10 Years. I
get that they take a sound and make it more accessible, so they have what would
constitute them as a gateway band, but because of what I said before, I kind of see
them as a gateway band to other gateway bands. If that makes any sense.
I don't see the Deftones comparison at all to be honest. And I can't 100% agree with the statement
that you'll hear Tool or Deftones before you hear 10 Years. Mainly because I heard 10 Years before
both because of the popularity of Beautiful and Wasteland. Of course this is an entirely personal
situation. And it's entirely true that 10 Years is a gateway to bands like Tool. It doesn't change
the fact that it's a gateway if the band led to is also popular. That's silly.
Only reason I bring up Deftones is because I see 10 Years being influnced
instrumentally by Deftones' alternative metal assault more than Tool's prog. And
idk, Tool is a much more popular band than I think 10 years will ever be. I'm just
saying that from personal experience, when I was growing up Tool was everwhere,
constantly receiving airplay on the radio, and they were popular in scenes they were
barely related too, so I heard about them first. 10 Years is an over-looked post-
grunge band, and when I first heard Wasteland I thought it was a new APC single
lol. So that's why I bring it up, everyone's experience is different yes, but I'm pretty
confident that my scenario is most likely the most common one.
Btw, solid review my man, so have a pos. I wish I remebered to mention in my
review that this is an independent release. That would have really helped my
arguement about their attempt at a more raw production style.
Best review so far and I agree with pretty much most you say although the album did more for me than you apparently. Completely and totally agree about the gateway band thing. TAE opened the doors for me to start listening to most of my favorite bands today.
I literally just found out this was getting released a few days before it came out. I'm thinking to it got little to no publicity, and the fact that this was an independent release and that they are no longer with that HUGE label that signed all those other post-grunge bands didn't help at all.
This is the best review of this album so far. Very well-written and a spot-on analysis of the album
as a whole.
"It’s apparent that the band themselves are not use to having this type of creative freedom. The
amount of ideas swirling around within this albums 44 minute runtime is impressive."
I can definitely see where you're coming from there. It seems that we see this in the exact same
way, but what you see as a negative (lack of cohesiveness), I see as a positive (diversity, raw
creation). I agree with your last paragraph almost wholeheartedly. I think this is a very important
step for the band, and that they are just going to get better from here. A "rebirth" if you will.