Reviews September /00

Ten / Babylon / Frontiers CD 046


Ten - As good as it gets! Tracklisting:The Stranger; Barricade; Give in this Time; Love became the Law; The Heat; Silent Rain; Timeless; Black Hearted Woman; Thunder in Heaven; Valentine.

This is without doubt British pompster battleship Ten's best offer so far - in my opinion.
This album has been long awaited - and when the rumours circulated that Ten was working on a concept album, I was wasn't really surprised. Ten has always had elements of pomp and progressive rock to them on their previous works, and by including keyboard wizzard Don Airey to the line-up, a concept album was in fact the most natural thing for Gary Hughes & Co. to do!
The full line-up on "Babylon" is Gary Hughes on vocals, Vinny Burns on guitar, John Helliwell on guitars, Don Airey on keys, Steve McKenna on bass and Greg Morgan on drums. And it is a very impressing outfit 'cause all musicians are on the one side individuals and outstanding and on the other side working for the whole idea! This is a rare combination and speaks for the great potential in the band - the sky is the limit!
"Babylon" is the breathtaking story about two love ones, Jen and Lex in the year 2999. They live in Babylon one of 9 cities in Zone 1, formerly known as USA. They both work for Cryotech Industries, whos two directors Rev and Don Devlin also are in love with Jen. Jen is faithfull to her boyfriend and the Devlins therefore kill her. But Lex's revenge is cruel but fair! Thats the story in very short terms - the full event is only possible by listening several times to the album - it grows for every turn.
Not since Queensr˙che's mighty "Operation Mindcrime" I haven't heard anything that catchy, that pompous, that exciting and dynamic. Of course no track can be torn from the story - but a few tracks stands out, and my favourites are the balladesque "Silent Rain" which describes Lex's feeling when he has heard about Jen's death in the Meridian News - I actually sat with tears in my eyes when the track was over! But also the more rockier "Black Hearted woman" is a total blast for all senses.
"Babylon" is by far the album that has touched most fragments of my emotions, and by God there has been several magnificent abums out this year. Ten has once and for all proved that their position as premier pomp band is well deserved. Gary Hughes vocals are outstanding and tells the perfect story, Vinny Burns fret work is as always significant and Don Airey's keyboards and piano stretches it all out - great!

Treason / Code of Silence / Treason Productions International


Treason - In cooperation with Sue Ennis and Ann Wilson Tracklisting:Last Stand; Cycles; SuperCool; Spinning; State of Grace; Deff Bendir; Kali Ma; Holy Water; Visual; Cold Tears; Lethal.

Seattle band Treason is a total new experience to me. They released their debut album in 1998 with the help of Alan White, Billy Sherwood and Igor Khoroshev from Yes.
This time around Treason featuring collaboration with lyricist Sue Ennis and Heart vocalist Ann Wilson together with bassist John Giblin from Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush fame and additional producer Ron St. Germain, who has been working with people like Soundgarden, Tool and Living Colour. And the music from this "young" band is as complex as it seems.
From the very first stroke on the first tune "Last stand" the five-pice sends the listeners on a musical journey that includes some melodic, grungy tunes with outstanding vocal work from Jason Saunders and a sense for the dramatic moments. Keyboard player and main producer Ted Stockwell plays a leading role, too. His keys sounds like guitars from time to time and gives the sound a very special feeling. But also the guitar work from Karl Haug is thick, dynamic and very powerful indeed.
My favourites on the album are "State of Grace" with the catchy chorus and the marvellous solo by Karl Haug, "Cold Tears" featuring Ann Wilson but also the two Asian influenced tracks "Deff Bendir" and "Kali Ma" makes "Code of Silence" to a very special and enjoyable experience.
If you like the combination of melodic rock and grunge Treason deliever a very listenable piece of well produced, well played and well sunged album - very special, very good!

Thin Lizzy / One Night Only / SPV 085-21992 CD


Thin Lizzy - featuring Scott Gorham, John Sykes, Darren Wharton, Tommy Aldridge and Marco Mendoza. Tracklisting:Jailbreak;Waiting for an Alibi; Don't believe a Word; Cold Sweat; The Sun goes down; Are you ready; Bad Reputation; Suicide; Still in Love with you; Cowboy Song; The Boys are back in Town; Rosalie; Black Rose.

At first I thought this Thin Lizzy moniker to be a little hollow - in my mind a Thin Lizzy without Philip Lynnot wasn't even a possibility!
But - I have to admit that these guys does a splendid job. The tracks are of course all the classics from different albums and John Sykes delivers the vocals that close to Lynnot's that I had to check the cover notes - specially on "Still in love with you".
John Sykes and Scott Gorham are real heroes on this "tribute" - not only Sykes' vocals but his guitarplaying skills as well are outstanding, and together with companion Gorham I guess the ultimate guitar duo is born, just listen to "Cowboy Song".
Already in 1994 a part of this band was born with teh release "Screamin' Blue Murder". Later in 1996 Gorham and Sykes played a minor tour in Japan with original drummer Brian Downey, Keyboarder Darren Wharton whos first contact with Thin Lizzy was 1980's "Chinatown" and bassplayer Marco Mendoza known from his work in Blue Murder, Tommy Shaw and Pat Boones heavy Metal Big Band. In the meantime Downey has been replaced by star drummer Tommy Aldridge, and that is not a bad replacement.
There are a lot of my all time favorites here - but in new and re-vitalized versions, but "Suicide" has screamin' guitars thunderous drums and excellent vocals, my little favorite here! In fact these five guys has given 13 of Thin Lizzys absolute greatest hits new life, and as for the future, Gorham and Sykes are writing new material together enforcing that Thin Lizzy magic that I thought lost forever with Lynnot's tragic death in 1986.
May he rest in peace - but after all, life goes on, and I think the spirit of Lynnot is still within the band and they have the style and class to make this a tastefull and respectfull release after all!

© Steen Peitersen 2000