Sound — 8
Back in 2005 Knoxville natives 10 Years made a lasting impression on the rock charts with it's single Wasteland, and it's likely that the band will likely find itself with at least a few hit singles on the new album Division. Much like Breaking Benjamin and Chevelle, 10 Years has an accessible sound that should reach a wide audience, but they also tend to be a little more daring at times. Division has more going for it than just being a single machine, and at times the band laughs in the face of Billboard charts by adding in several minutes of acoustic guitar or piano solos. Division is a little hard to figure out at times, simply for the fact that you'll get a heavy helping of both laid-back, dark tunes and straightforward rock tracks. In terms of instant hits, the opening track Actions and Motives should be considered a sure-thing for airplay. With a cool bass intro, thought-provoking lyrics (Bear the cross; Wear the crown; There's just some evil you can't bleed out; Hell has to notice your Actions and Motives) and a catchy chorus, the track stands out immediately. The only other rock song on the album that comes close to being as memorable is All Your Lies, which features an incredible, sonic-sounding riff. If you like rich guitar tones in your music, check out All Your Lies. At the opposite end of the spectrum are several songs that ooze melancholy. These particular tracks at times lean toward the sound of A Perfect Circle, but then eventually become completely unique entities when they strip down all of the instrumentation. The closing track Proud Of You is a haunting, quiet song that features basically just the vocals of Jesse Hasek and a subdued piano backing him up. Some female singers heard faintly in the background enter into the picture toward the end, setting a very eerie mood. The band actually finds it's niche when it creates pieces like these, which don't rely on layer upon layer to make it stand out.
Lyrics — 9
Most every song has at least some interesting lyrical aspect, and at times the lyrics actually stand out more so than the music underneath. Actions and Motives was mentioned earlier, but the single Beautiful has perhaps an even timelier theme dealing with Hollywood's celebrity royalty. Hasek sings, Visually you're stimulating to my eyes; Your Cinderella syndrome's full of lies; Your insecurities are concealed by your pride; Pretty soon your ego will kill what's left inside. The song puts an introspective take on the Hollywood fluff that comes out of TMZ.
Overall Impression — 8
There are a few lackluster tracks on Division, but 10 Years has written enough quality material to ensure that their fan base will grow. There are quite a few songs on the album that will attract airplay, but that doesn't mean that 10 Years has completely had to compromise their creative impulses in the meantime. Those creative urges usually have to do with lengthy piano solos, so that's just a word of caution. In the end, 10 Years does deserve credit for taking chances on stripped-down, instrumental moments that are obviously done for the sake of the song alone.