Review Summary: 10 Years is done feeding the wolves.
After listening to Minus the Machine, it's quite evident that 10 Years decided to go back to their roots. Feeding the Wolves was an attempt to please their record company, but now that they created the album under their own label, 10 Years really brought back memories to the fantastic Autumn Effect. Is Minus the Machine as masterful as The Autumn Effect? The truth is nothing could measure up to their breakthrough album. However, their latest album comes very close and some songs on Minus the Machine sound like they could fit right in on The Autumn Effect. Even with that said, the album is more flawed than The Autumn Effect.
The biggest gripe I have with Minus the Machine is that some of the songs seem incomplete. Forever Fields is a beautiful song with thought-provoking lyrics, but the song ends out of nowhere. Sometimes it's awesome when a song ends like that, but the way Forever Fields ends is downright awkward. Dancing with the Dead suffers from an awkward ending as well. The band also has some screaming vocals on a couple songs, but for the most part they do not pay off. There is one part in Knives where "wake up, wake up, wake up dead fly" is screamed and judging from this lyric screaming really doesn't suit them. They should really stick to what they do best and that is when Jesse delivers emotional performances and hits high notes with surprising ease.
The bands performance as a whole on Minus the Machine is masterful as always. One aspect that has gotten remarkably better is the drumming. Some of the beats and rhythms on the album are quite intense. The guitar and bass work is well done, but there is nothing too complex in the guitar work. However, you do not need complex guitar work for the bands performance to pay off. Each riff is perfect for each emotion that is trying to be conveyed. Jesse is the other piece of the puzzle used to convey these emotions and his singing is incredible as always. Jesse has never disappointed me on any of their past albums and this album is no exception. Sleeper really showcases is excellence.
Sleeper, one of the standout tracks, delivers a compelling performance about confusing something for a cure when it is really a curse. However, that curse is open to your own interpretation. Jesse shouting "martyr, martyr, martyr" is breathtaking. Tightrope is the most emotional song on the record and it is also the most beautiful one. It is quite thought-provoking and amazing instrumentals accompany Jesse on quite a ride. A somber instrumental song leads into ...And All the Other Colors, 10 Years best closing song by a mile. The lyrics are quite empowering and features an incredible final minutes. The drums are the standout in this one.
Minus the Machine is definitely a huge turning point for the band because they are on their own now. There is no label to guide them so they do not have to "feed the wolves" anymore. It showed excellent musicianship that really brought 10 Years back to their roots. Though it may not be flawless, it is quite exceptional most of the time. It's definitely a step up from Feeding the Wolves that really impresses. It's just too bad that 10 Years is often overlooked.
Tracks I recommend:
-...And All the Other Colors