The fact that 10 Years is not a household name by now is shameful. In a world that refers to brain-dead radio hits as “music,” the moving and masterful songs of a group like 10 Years go unnoticed by all but the select few fortunate enough to stumble upon them. Simply put, The Autumn Effect is a rock masterpiece. Every track tells its own story and contributes to the overarching mood of the album and there are very few weak points, as each song contributes something unique that develops the overall brooding tone. The infectious rising and falling of the tempo on each track makes The Autumn Effect particularly memorable, while its poignant lyrics enhance the music’s mature complexity. The instrumental emphasis effectively weaves the tracks together, proficiently fading each one into the next.
Every instrument is distinguishable and refined, as the distinct characteristics of the guitar, drums and bass combine for truly masterful songs. With such crisp and well-defined instrumenal components, lead singer Jesse Hasek’s voice provides a complementary atmosphere to each song, appropriately setting the mood with vocals that rise and fall accordingly. As hauntingly soothing melodies with reserved vocals quickly escalate into white-hot guitar riffs and burningly passionate wailing, Hasek’s performance rises to each occasion and delivers each intended emotion with poise. All in all, The Autumn Effect is a stirringly moody album that utilizes the precision of every note to envelop the listener in a dark and sophisticated atmosphere unlike any rock album available.
“Waking Up” is the quintessential starting track for The Autumn Effect, establishing its reflective yet energetic tone early with smooth guitar in the background. Hasek’s vocal range is on display here, as he effortlessly coos the reserved verses before building into the wails of a desperately urgent chorus filled with heavy guitar. Matt Brown’s drumming is also showcased by the song’s rapid cymbals pulsing in the background. The album’s first track immediately reveals the rising and falling trend the album possesses, one of its greatest strengths.
“Cast It Out” begins quietly with Hasek’s soothing voice and a guitar riff for accompaniment before exploding into a heavy but slow-paced rocker. This head-bobber is simple enough, but once again highlights the group’s great ability to alternate between fast and slow tempos, giving the song energy and poise at the same time. The song closes with about two minutes of slow guitar and bass riffs, closing it out on a reflective note before fading into the next emotionally-charged track.
“Wasteland” has garnered the band the most commercial success, and it is easy to see why. Hasek’s dulcet vocals in the verses steal the spotlight, but when combined with constant guitar chugging to build the drama of the song before kicking into another gear for the chorus. The heavy and slow drum and guitar work of the chorus adds to the dark emotion, while the escalating bridge sees the most passion from Hasek and the entire band backing his burning proclamations. The song’s momentum drops off before building back up into the final chorus, further displaying 10 Years’ talent for manipulating the tempo. “Wasteland” is musically and lyrically charged with deeper meaning, easily making it the best song on the album.
“Through The Iris” is a powerful and energetic example of 10 Years’ hard rock talent, second only to “Wasteland” on The Autumn Effect. This track exemplifies the group’s extensive abilities as musicians and lyricists. The tempo once again elevates and drops off to add to the song’s dramatic nature, and the chorus of heavy drums and blaring guitars allows Hasek to fluctuate between smooth and heightened vocals, making it his best on the album. This is 10 Years’ finest work lyrically, as Hasek powerfully declares: “Disappear and dissolve / A weakening wall / Will one day fall / It’s wise to sever our loss / I redefine pulse / Through your iris.”
The Autumn Effect lags a bit in the middle, but as a whole, is a tremendous hard rock album and a must-own for fans of similar bands like Breaking Benjamin, Evans Blue, Chevelle, 32 Leaves, Cold and Red. 10 Years’ first major release establishes the group as a hard rock powerhouse and a highly attractive prospect for anyone looking for something intelligent to listen to. Hasek’s flawless vocals combine with the hard rock and instrumental sections to create a truly unique and mature listening experience. The rising and falling of tempo in almost every track gives the album a dark, reflective and brooding mood backed by intelligently striking lyrics. The Autumn Effect is a hard rock masterpiece and should not be missed by anyone.
Final Score: 10/10
Rank: 1st (five total albums)
- Waking Up
- Fault Line
- The Recipe
- Cast It Out
- Seasons To Cycles
- Half Life
- Through The Iris
- Paralyzing Kings
- The Autumn Effect