Sound — 8
10 Years had a lot of buzz about them even before they released an album. Apart from that the band got some solid support -? a deal with Republic/Universal and Josh Abraham (Staind, Velvet Revolver) to produce their debut record. "Autumn Effect," out August 2005, is the band's first effort for major label, in fact they have already released an indie album "Wasteland" before. In "Autumn Effect" bass-driver art hard-rock is created by distortion solid guitars and melodic riffs, making pure and at the same time refined music. All songs are based on frontman/songwriter Jesse Hasek's personal feelings which makes them fall under the emo genre, but, I should give it credit, not a winning one. "Waking Up" gives a very good start to the album and makes it clear, that you're listening to not just another boring and howling alt metal record. Choruses are large and not catchy in general, keeping the album still enjoyable after the fifth listen and make you look deeper, than just easy sing-along -- like very well composed atmospheric instrumentals ("Through The Iris" and the title track), where 10 Years are in their best. But these are not crazy prog rock guitar exercises with lots of distortion and reverb effects: here solos are actually very melodic, keeping it's toughness through at the same time. On the other side all that leaves the band a step behind in achieving popularity as long instrumentals are probably gonna be cut out for radio-friendly versions and absence of obviously catchy melodies make the songs hard to remember.
Lyrics — 8
Probably the best thing about the band, is that they don't cuss in their songs, expressing the feelings by simple worlds, which only makes them stronger. Lyrics are poetic and even thoughtful sometimes, fitting the standard of alt-rock music. Like that line in the title song "Autumn indicated the death of beauty." The songs don't have any screamo, the necessary outfit for bands of their type, but they don't sound any worse because of that. Josh Abraham's Staind-ish influence is most obviously appears in vocals (I know weird, but still). I wish sometimes they were less whining -? like in the beginning of "Cast It Out" -? it sounds like somebody's pulling a soul out from singer's body. Jesse is singing close to the microphone (you can even sometimes hear him opening his mouth) to create an intimate atmosphere, which suits the album's mood perfectly.
Overall Impression — 8
The beauty of "The Autumn Effect" would take your whole attention to be revealed, otherwise it would seems just a background noise to you. Most probably it would take a few listens to be appreciated, as everything is very though-out. Like that beautiful artwork of a hummingbird on the CD sleeve -? the musicians say it symbolizes natural and organic vibe, which 10 Years believe their music is. Nothing too bad to say about the CD and nothing too good at the same time. What the record really misses on is a good blow-out hit, something outstanding. All the songs are on the same level of intensity, toughness, earnestness... I wish they could attract more adventure and creativity in all aspects of songwriting and recording. It's a very rare thing a debut album could be good in everything and "Autumn Effect" is tasty enough to promise the band's got potential to take things further.