By Shane Douthwaite
What do get if you cross Pantera and Creed? No it's not a joke, and the answer is simple; Ten by Ten. In a similar style to Hull's own metal masters, Pastel Jack; Ten by Ten use a riff laden groove base and structure immense alt. rock anthems from it to create a huge sound. After kicking ass at SOS Fest, Ten by Ten are set to conquer, and we were lucky enough to get a copy of their EP, Pressure.
Opening the EP is the title track, which is lyrically about 'sticking it to the man' but then yourself becoming the oppressor. This track really displays all of the band's strengths; it is well written, features huge chunky riffs, and it's catchy as hell. A great start to the EP and lays a great platform for what is to follow.
Fell from Grace picks up whatever is left of you after Pressure and smashes your face to the floor. Al's opening riff is swiftly followed by Ste's pounding beats and Paul's huge bass riff; all of which introduce you to five minutes of fury. The lyrics are yet again, right on the money, showing someone's drop in social stature. If the contrast between this song and the prior track was purposeful or not, I don't know; but they really work together. Fell from Grace's shining moment is around 04:15. Straight after a guitar solo and usual end chorus an unexpected second solo entered the foray; and the simple surprise of it feels as though it is throwing you back in to the song for another round.
Wash Away the Tears details the confusing emotions that come with the death of a loved one. The song is haunting and delicate for the most part, but sliced apart by deep cutting guitar chords. The track really captures the maelstrom of emotions attached to this particular subject. Wash is also Al's shining moment, featuring the best guitar solo on the EP and a mass collection of riffs; both heavy and clean, strung together brilliantly.
Next up is Stronger; which is true in both name and nature. Featuring the best riff and intro on the EP, Stronger picks you up from the emotional beating that was Wash Away the Tears and thrusts you back to the metaphorical moshpit created by the first two tracks. Strangely structured but well written, this song is highly memorable and features highly on my mp3 player's 'Most Played' list.
Ten by Ten follow up with a 'ballad' track, In Your Sea, and this is where vocalist Chris is at his pinnacle. The track allows Chris to display his subtle variation in tone, adjusting himself to reflect the tempo of the track. With only two small verses In Your Sea is hardly the most technical song in the world; but it is the accompanying music that makes this my second favourite track on the EP. The haunting intro leads flawlessly into the main riff, a cascading monster that you can't help but marvel at.
Ending this six track debut is the epic anthem, Jesus Road Trip. With an addictive groove and hard hitting attitude this song stays long in the memory and is by far the best track on display. The lyrics alone are probably enough to make you a fan, detailing how Jesus, Mother Theresa and the Pope go on a road trip to cleanse the world of sin. Don't believe me? Check it for yourself:
So, all you need to know about Ten by Ten is this; Chris is like a certain Mr Cornell, but with a gutsier voice; Al has more riffs in his catalogue than Tony Iommi; Paul's bass work is a credit to the instrument and bypasses the need for a second guitar. And Ste hits a drum like Vinnie Paul on steroids. If that isn't enough of a reason to like them, then screw you guys, I'm going home.
Devil Horn Rating: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ (out of five)