10 Years is a rock band that never quite found their place in mainstream rock because of the experimental elements that make their songs so unique and hauntingly captivating. Their first album, released in 2005, The Autumn Effect, is a nearly flawless effort that captures a vast range of emotions and establishes a relaxing yet rousing mood. The follow-up, Division, was another illustrious chapter in 10 Year’s discography, but didn’t quite capture as much of the instrumental component. Give 10 Years’ first album a listen and you will notice songs ending with two minutes of soft instrumentals composed by multiple guitars that create a dark, ethereal atmosphere. Listening to each song was an experience in itself, and combining each experience into the whole album made for a sensational debut album.
With the new album, 10 Years has continued in the direction established by Division. They have moved further away from their usual realm of music and into a realm that is more universally accessible. That is not to say Feeding The Wolves is bad, it is actually a great album all by itself; but compared to what fans are used to, the change might come as a bit of a surprise.
“Shoot It Out” manages to mix the mastery of Ryan Johnson’s guitar, Lewis Cosby’s bass and Brian Vodinh’s drums with a more aggressive effort from lead vocalist Jesse Hasek. Mainly, a bit more screaming than fans are used to. Unlike the screaming in Blessthefall’s music video of a song covered last week, Hasek’s screaming is just severely strained singing, and if you can get over this little speed bump, you will enjoy a fast-paced rocker. But don’t take my word for it. Just check out this intense music video.
One of the best songs on the entire album, “Fix Me” stands out because it has the deadly combination of simple but meaningful lyrics and vintage 10 Years sound that fans are used to: a consistent rise and fall of intensity and superb guitar that gives the song its own unique feel. Then Hasek’s vocals are added to the equation and the result is a dramatic masterpiece.
“Don’t Fight It” is another ballad that begins with beautiful acoustic guitar work. It develops into a more mainstream rock song than fans will be used to, but a touching song about rediscovering the wonder of a past love that is mixed with such flawless music expressing this kind of emotion should not be ignored.
Even if this album disappoints older fans of the band, 10 Years ends on a note that cannot be ignored with “Fade Into (The Ocean).” This song sounds like it could have been taken straight from The Autumn Effect and its unparalleled intensity makes for a perfect end to the album. It starts off slow with guitar that immediately sets a dark mood, which is reinforced by Hasek’s wavering vocals. Then the guitar stops and Hasek comes in with, “Silence falls into the defeaning / Sirens of my own epiphanies,” and the band comes back into the picture with a bang. The song turns into a heavier rock song, but still maintains the instrumental element that sets this group apart. The best example of this contrast is when the song crescendos and Hasek yells out, “WHAT IS HAPPENING?” From here the intensity immediately drops only to climax again later. Landmark rock songs are able to morph as they progress while still maintaining a mood and central focus, and that’s what makes this song stellar.
The rest of the album has a lot to offer, but the tracks above are the most interesting. Feeding The Wolves doesn’t quite live up to the mark set by The Autumn Effect, but living up to that mark might be impossible to do because of how perfect that debut is. 10 Years made something more mainstream this time, but they managed to stay true to their roots and produce something that is definitely worth your time. Fans of Breaking Benjamin, Evans Blue, 12 Stones and Red will find something enjoyable here, as will anyone looking for some rock music that is more reflective than normal. 10 Years still deserves respect for their special brand of music that is undeniably powerful and pervading, and I recommend this band just as strongly as I ever have.
Final Score: 8/10
Rank: 3rd (five total albums)
- Shoot It Out
- The Wicked Ones
- Now Is The Time (Ravenous)
- One More Day
- Fix Me
- Chasing The Rapture
- Dead In The Water
- Don’t Fight It
- Waking Up The Ghost
- Fade Into (The Ocean)