10 Years
(How to Live) As Ghosts


3.5
great

Review

by pizzamachine USER (498 Reviews)
February 25th, 2023 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Another solid entry for 10 Years, though a point in their discography where their age starts to show.

Throughout their career, 10 Years pushed their sound to new horizons, while attempting to stay true to themselves. From Birth to Burial was an outlier of unexpected, viciously heavy proportions, and the following album (How to Live) AS GHOSTS saw 10 Years coming down to Earth. Thick guitars are essential as always, but the razor edge is calmed quite a bit. It is an album that sits comfortably, neither evolving or tiresome, it’s simply 10 Years being themselves. The mood setting and candle lighting of previous albums is here, though the extra aggression of the previous album is greatly tamed. In fact, previously prominent harsh vocals are nowhere to be found. Rather than a bumpy change, much like Minus the Machine, (How to Live) combines the best parts of 10 Years, in a satisfying conglomeration. However, (How to Live) has enough unique thrills to its name to be a valuable addition to their collected works. It’s another great album for 10 Years, a band that can’t seem to make a bad album.

Playing the music they’ve always played does not rot the core of the band or show stagnation. Their vibrant alternative rock/metal is as powerful as ever. A blend of shimmery, pretty melodies meets solid riffs and catchy songs per usual. Jesse’s vocals are noticeably simmered down here, staying within a safe, yet potent range. Dark, atmospheric tones are also rather hushed in this album, with 10 Years preferring to bear resemblance to the gorgeous melodies in their first two albums. The calm atmosphere is relaxing, though the riffs are not, and the result is 10 Years’ typical, mesmeric formula which is hard hitting without trying too hard.

10 Years’ unique songwriting isn’t quite hitting in this album, its greatest weakness. It isn’t so much their loss of sharp teeth heaviness or dark, more ambient atmospherics that creates a hole that needs filling; the structure of songs are just too predictable. From verse to chorus, the course is set, with a rather non-experimental and safe path in a straight line. Nonetheless, great riffs greet you along the way, and surprisingly memorable choruses usher you along the journey. So it’s a generic album in summation, yet one that isn’t afraid to get its hands dirty with a great rhythm section or hard riff.

In the end, the album is more of the same type of tracks heard from the band for ages. The lyrics are consistently intriguing and heartfelt, proving the band’s message is as strong ever. Neither are the riffs limp wristed, or drums an afterthought. 10 Years also managed to infuse their special vibe that only they can seem to produce. Despite fairly generic songwriting, plentiful moody, yet harmonic moments brandish the good old 10 Years flavour. While this album could be easily overlooked as a radio obsessed mainstream album, that view point misses the pros of catchy songs and riffs with compelling singing - as always. Overall, (How to Live) is a solid, hard rockin’ album, showcasing almost everything desirable from 10 Years, save for a minuscule bit of missing personality. Still, there’s plenty enough on offer. It’s not their best album by any stretch, but there’s lots to enjoy, and a collection of consistently great tracks in total.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
pizzamachine
February 25th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Didn’t think I’d make it to this album, I am pleased. :]

Manatea
Contributing Reviewer
February 26th 2023


1067 Comments


Really nice writeup man. Checking soon

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The answer to the question that this album poses is posting in this thread. That’s how you live as a ghost, no one will ever read it.



Jokes aside, I really like this album. You’re right, all the edges have been filed off, no more harsh vocals, this is a much more clean and safe mainstream effort. While that’s disappointing, I really enjoyed my time with this one.



Novacaine is an absolutely insane single, that is one catchy and sassy riff! While some songs feel like shallow cuts, there are some real deep cuts here like the beautiful piano-soaked Blood Red Sky and the extremely emo Lucky You. Halos and Vampires are also real moods, and the vocals on closer Insomnia have been infectiously stuck in my head for months.



But it gets even better because the bonus tracks here are very enjoyable too. The Nirvana cover is an absolute revelation and the REM cover is nice too. The Novacaine reimagining is interesting and bleeds into their next release, Deconstructed, where they decided to strip down and reinterpret a bunch of their old songs. That one is definitely worth a listen, but you have to be in the mood for it cause it’s a pretty sullen affair.



Great review pizza. Spoiler alert, Violent Allies is a total wash for me, their worst effort since FtW. The silver lining is they released a single (The Optimist) recently that is at least solid. This gives me some hope for their future. I don’t expect you to review these, but their 2 unplugged EPs are really worth a listen.

pizzamachine
February 26th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice soundoff haha. Deconstructed isn’t my favourite but I’ll revisit it anyway, maybe. I’ve listened to Violent Allies and am in the middle of reviewing it. :] I probs won’t Review the EPs but you never know I guess lol.

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

haha Violent Allies sucks. I look forward to knowing what you make of it, I'm going to be very mean to it. Deconstructed is definitely worth a revisit, it at least it shows a creative bone in their body. The EPs are probably not worth a review (no one has heard of them) but you should definitely check them to round out your discog of this band

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I have to ask, what did you think of the Heart-Shaped Box cover? That was a very formative song for me and this take on it kind of caved my head in. I was not expecting what I got, it was very cool

pizzamachine
February 26th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Violent Allies isn’t great. :/ the Battle of the Reviews!!!! I thought Heart Shaped Box was very different for the band, but it was pretty cool

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not much of a battle there, I feel like we'll be pretty much in agreement on that one. Probably not very violent

pizzamachine
February 26th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeh twooo

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've heard that they had an entirely different album written in 2019/2020, but when they got in the studio the producer was like "scrap it, just make a new accessible album from scratch", and that's what became Violent Allies. The other album got shelved indefinitely. Feels like a huge mistake.

pizzamachine
February 26th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely a mistake

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It was more lazy than FtW, and you know how I dislike that one. Feels like they were just punching in to collect a cheque, it's a really poor showing. By the numbers ad nauseam. I liked the little instrumental interludes, I thought those were really nice, but the thing just sucked. Also why is Jesse auto-tuning so much, the guy has a great voice. The album is a total misguided abomination and if I could snap it out of existence like Thanos I would, no second thoughts

pizzamachine
February 26th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dunno their reasoning but it must’ve been money agreed. I’m not 1’ing it though. ;)

artiswar
February 26th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

me neither, I can't go above a 2 though

pizzamachine
February 26th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dang! Brutal brotha

cycosynner
February 28th 2023


29 Comments


Saw them live with RED when they were touring this album cycle. Overall a great live show, though they stacked the set with slower tunes so RED kinda ended up upstaging them a bit.

That said though, "Shoot It Out" absolutely went the fuck off.

pizzamachine
February 28th 2023


19674 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha still would’ve been a fun show

bananatossing
February 28th 2023


2087 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Congrats on the review, pizza. This is still a far cry from their early material but still a solid listen.

artiswar
February 28th 2023


11270 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Novacaine and Insomnia are such bangers. Some really nice deep cuts on here

bananatossing
March 1st 2023


2087 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed. Add "Vampires" and the title track there also.



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