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The British melodic hard rock band Ten formed in 1994 after vocalist and songwriter Gary Hughes had a particularly fruitful period of writing. During preparations for what would be his third solo album, Hughes found himself with 28 songs. He later decided to split the songs across two albums. Mike Stone was brought on board to mix the album, and Vinny Burns from the rock band Dare was added on guitar. Soon another ex-Dare member, Greg Morgan, was brought into the fold, and Hughes' project evolved into a band. Ten released their first record X in 1996, and it was warmly received. They took to the road to tour in support of the record, and added yet another Dare member to their numbers, bassist Martin "Shelley" Shelton, as well as keyboard player Ged Rylands and guitarist John Halliwell -- both formerly of Kage. Wasting little time, the ever-growing group returned to the studio and put out their sophomore effort, The Name of the Rose, in the same year. They hit the road again, but Shelley left the band and was replaced by Andrew "Drew" Webb. For their next record they took a slightly different tack. Although they retained producer Mike Stone and their signature melodic/hard rock sound they also began to include a wider range of influences.
As the '90s wore on, Ten released three further albums, The Robe, the live record Never Say Goodbye, and Spellbound -- the latter went on to become one of their most successful records. They entered the next decade with a concept album, 2000's Babylon, which centered around the love affair of a computer programmer and was set in the future. Their next album saw a shift in the group's dynamics as Don Airy was replaced on keys with Paul Hodson, and Burns departed, citing creative differences. He was eventually replaced by Chris Francis, but the band had a break from 2002 to 2003 while Hughes worked on his rock opera Once and Future King. The rest of the decade saw two further Ten albums, 2004's Return to Evermore, and a best-of called The Essential Collection 1995-2005. That year, bassist Steve McKenna left the band, followed in 2008 by Francis, and Hughes and the band went on hiatus in 2008.
Ten reemerged in 2011 with Stormwarning, five years after their last record. However, they soon began to lose members again, with Hodson, guitarist Neil Fraser, and bassist Mark Sumner all leaving that same year. But they were soon replaced by guitarist Dan Mitchell and keyboard player Darrel Treece-Birch, and McKenna also returned on bass. Ten continued stayed active, releasing Heresy and Creed in 2012, Albion in 2014, Isla de Muerta in 2015, and their first EP in 16 years, The Dragon and Saint George, also in 2015.
2016 saw Ten return to their old label Frontier Records for their 13th studio album Gothica, which was released in 2017. The band also planned to reissue their back catalog physically and digitally, with the latter a virtual box set titled Opera Omnia. ~ Bekki Bemrose
- Manchester, England
- Hard Rock
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