Review Summary: A solid release that combines the sounds of an overlooked band's career.
10 Years is a band that has slipped under the radar of many alternative rock fans. They haven't quite reached the level of Chevelle, Shinedown, or any of the other big bands, but have always brought a lot to the table. Their first major CD Killing All That Holds You
mixes together a hard rock sound, with soothing melodies for a solid experience. Their next releases The Autumn Effect
polished these elements and were followed by Feeding The Wolves
, an album in which the band tries to experiment with a heavier sound by incorporating more screams and thundering guitars. Minus The Machine
is a mix of all of the elements that makes 10 Years, well 10 Years.
Minus the Machine
leads off with the title track and throws a pretty typical alternative rock approach at the listener. An interesting element I noticed in this song (as well as some other songs on the album) is in the way the vocals are layered on the choruses. The choruses do not sound as if they mixed to sound perfect, but showcase the effort of recording the vocal tracks. They do not sound perfectly touched up, but instead have a very raw feel to them, something that may polarize people with this album. "Battle Lust" has a very Chevelle-esque element to it, especially within the verses and is a very solid track.
"Forever Fields" has a mysterious aura around the whole song and has a very atmospheric tone to it. This track feels like it would fit well in Division
. Lead single "Backlash" shares many of the elements that the title track does, namely a straight forward song structure and that raw sound that is within the vocals. "Writing on the Walls" slows the pace down and is a song without any particularly notable moments, but a solid rock sound. The comparison to Chevelle arises once again in "Dancing with the Dead". Lead singer Jesse Hasek's melodic choruses bring up thoughts of Pete Loeffler's verses, without the cryptic lyrics. Hasek's vocals shine through strongly on "Sleeper", a track with moments of hectic guitar riffs and calm silence, surrounded by an excellent vocal performance, most notably in the long notes that Hasek nails.
"Soma" feels like a new version of "Fix Me", a single from their last album Feeding The Wolves
, but lacking the power that the latter track has. In "Tightrope", the band mixes in piano to the song, and it gives a feeling as if the track is going to go acoustic at some point, but never quite does. Once again, the ability to connect Chevelle is possible as Hasek holds his long melodic notes. "Knives" is a track that will be either a loved tracks, or a hated one. It is filled with slow verses and catchy hooks, as well as a hard hitting chorus that will have the crowd moving in concert. The heaviest moment of the album is within the bridge of this track. The screams of "Wake up, wake up dead fly!" are quite similar to Linkin Park's "A Place For My Head" and stand today as 10 Year's heaviest track. Regardless of opinion of the song, it seems to be a perfect track for playing live. Finally the album concludes with the instrumental "Birth--Death", which leads into closer "...And All The Other Colors". A tribal drum beats in the background and the tempo stays fairly levels throughout the track. This track has the most polished vocals of any song on the album. Switching between a solid mix of backing vocals and high notes, the track does a great job of closing the album.
In promoting Minus The Machine
, 10 Years released "Backlash" and "Knives" to set the tone for the album. Both of these tracks showcased how there would not be one sound across the album. The raw vocals of "Backlash" show up in many places, as well as sound variety and strong lyrics of "Knives". Lyrical content is one thing that has never plagued the band, but shows up strong in Minus the Machine
. Ultimately, this is not an album that will change the general public's perception of the alternative rock genre, or a 10 Years fan's opinion of the band, but nevertheless is an important step forward for the band. They are able to bring back the heavy delivery of Feeding The Wolves
as well as the atmospheric sound present in not only their last album, but their previous releases as well. This album makes up for the monotony that many felt was present in Feeding the Wolves
and showcases everything that 10 Years is capable of.
"Minus The Machine"
"Birth--Death" into "...And All the Other Colors"