REVIEW: 10 Years – Violent Allies (Musicalypse Archive)

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There’s no doubt that this year is a period of sweeping change. While the most cynical of minds might be tempted to think that there is no way forward for humanity anymore (judging by the onslaught of malevolent stupidity that this pandemic has unleashed on a global scale), some of us still endeavor to find hope in our predicament. The Knoxville-based American alternative metal outfit, 10 YEARS, is one of those bands that refuse to give in to hopelessness. The band will be releasing their ninth studio album, “Violent Allies,” on September 18th, 2020, via Mascot Label Group. It’s an album that seems to suggest, in spite of voicing certain concerns about the state of the world, that life can be beautiful if you just give it a try. The album title suggests an overarching theme, the joining of unlike things, which simultaneously refers to the divisiveness of the world and the strangely alluring power of creativity – the phenomenon of facing one’s challenges head-on and going through hell to create something beautiful. “Violent Allies” presents a selection of twelve songs, the band’s first new music in over 2½ years since their previous 2017 album, “(How to Live) as Ghosts.” It was time well spent – growth transpires over time, as the wise men of Gotham tend to say. 10 YEARS‘ new album manifests a whole new level of creative clarity in the band’s formidable catalog.

The album opens with the leading single, ”The Shift,” which takes a close, hard look at the world, posing the burning question: what are we fighting for? All the familiar elements of those cherished 10 YEARS favorites from way back are present – the spiraling guitar riffs, occasional synth textures, and foremost the distinct post-grungey, slightly Maynardian vocals of singer Jesse Hasek. When he sings about us humans being a violent virus without a remedy, it strikes a particular chord amidst this epidemic. As the song’s title suggests, some kind of a shift in consciousness might be called for here. Whether it is going to happen or not, one thing is for certain: the passing of time will take us all into the wild of the great unknown, as ”The Unknown” muses. Those of us with a soft spot for that specific alternative sound incorporated by bands such as CHEVELLE and THREE DAYS GRACE will find “Violent Allies” most welcome new release by the second track on the album, at the latest. All the band’s signature sonic trinkets are conveniently in place – and there seems to be quite a good number of us who have a fondness for this sort of metal cuisine: as of writing this, ”The Shift” has already exceeded a half a million streams on Spotify.

Embracing the deep core of being human, vulnerable, and confused, 10 YEARS have challenged themselves in order to elevate their songcraft to ”one louder.” They have converted the push-and-pull of collective creativity into a cohesive and cathartic body of work on “Violent Allies,” with the emotional dynamics ranging from the driving feel of anthemic power-rock tracks such as ”Sleep in the Fire” and ”Cut the Cord” to the plaintive tranquility of the instrumental ”Planets” interludes, sandwiched between the vocal tracks. The new album offers a good deal of emotional counterpoints with things culminating in the closing track, ”Say Goodbye,” in which we hear the frontman bidding farewell to his late grandfather in a nothing short of poignant way.

“Violent Allies” is as multi-faceted as life itself, making you feel like standing on the edge of a crumbling-down world one moment and transcending our innate darkness the next. I guess it’s the least to expect from a band that has hits such as ”Wasteland,” ”Fix You,” and ”Novacaine” under their belt. Sure, the band does not really step out of their comfort zone, but why should they? These twelve new songs, or should I say tricks and ruses, will definitely appease our inextinguishable hunger for catchy and celestial melodies while offering food for thought in the lyrics. With a bunch of pristine songs and flawless execution on the new album, 10 YEARS burn their initials into every 38 minutes of it. It is definitely an album that deserves a cherished spot in the CD-rack of everyone who’s into deeply immersive alternative metal.

Written by Jani Lehtinen
Musicalypse, 2020
OV: 810
OS: 9/10

Tracklist

  1. The Shift
  2. The Unknown
  3. Waiting
  4. Déjà Vu
  5. Without You
  6. Cut the Cord
  7. Planets III
  8. Sleep in the Fire
  9. I Wish
  10. Start Again
  11. Planets IV
  12. Say Goodbye

Lineup

  • Jesse Hasek – lead vocals
  • Brian Vodinh – guitar, drums
  • Matt Wantland – rhythm guitar
  • Luke Narey – drums
  • Chad Grennor – bass

Label

Mascot Label Group

Links

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