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Ten Jinn (USA) - 2004 - "Alone"
TRACK LIST: 1. Who You Are 5:42 2. Alone 5:00 3. Never Ending Love 5:17 4. Felis Feminalis 4:21 5. Goodbye My Love 4:22 6. Legend of Green 3:14 7. How It Goes 6:00 8. Too Late Now 4:53 9. I'll Be There 4:23 10. Something Going Wrong 4:00 11. What Are You Gonna Do 4:04 12. Killing Me Slowly 4:05 13. In the End 5:57 All tracks: by Strauss, except 6: Wickliffe, 7 & 10: Strauss / Wickliffe. Arrangements: Ten Jinn. LINE-UP: John Paul Strauss - vocals; keyboards Mark Wickliffe - bass; drums Kenneth Francis - drums; guitars Ken Skoglund - guitars Mike Matler - guitars Bob Niemeyer - keyboards Ronnie Lindqvist - drums Steven Kramer - bass Produced by Strauss, Wickliffe, Francis, & Skoglund. Engineered by Francis & Skoglund.
Prolusion. TEN JINN is an American band led by a singer bearing the same surname as the famous Austrian composer Strauss. Apart from "Alone", they have only one album: the five-year standing "As On A Darkling Plain", which was a very promising debut, to say the least.
Synopsis. On their second album, Ten Jinn openly moved towards a more commercial sound, perhaps with the purpose to join the so-called mainstream or at least to become closer to it. But when dreaming of popularity, folks should remember that it's not enough just to start playing more accessible music than before to reach a larger audience, etc. Unlike one well-known outfit from the UK, who, while moving in a similar direction were always searching for innovative ideas and continuously transformed their style, Ten Jinn offers nothing really new on "Alone". Furthermore, the music is far less diverse and original than that on its predecessor. Twelve out of the thirteen tracks are songs, and most of them are vocal-heavy, with repeated couplets and refrains and only two (three at most) different instrumental interludes, all being short moreover. Only the Hammond solos, passages of piano and those of acoustic guitar are efficient everywhere they are, including when going alongside John Paul's singing, which, though, occurs not nearly as often as I would have wanted to. The music is usually a blend of Hard Rock with symphonic tendencies, which is good, and traditional, rather derivative AOR, which is you know what, with some touch of modern Alternative Metal. Of course, they couldn't do without ballads (5, 9, & 11), which, consequently, are softer and smoother than the tracks that I should have mentioned in the previous sentence (1, 2, 4, 8, & 12). While on the whole remaining within the framework of the album's prevalent stylistics, the songs Never Ending Love, Something Going Wrong, and In the End (3, 10, & 13) are more diverse and contain some well thought out, truly progressive instrumental arrangements, and not only proto-progressive as in most cases, at best. These are better songs, especially the latter with largely acoustic and heavier textures, alternating each other, and impressive minstrel-like vocals. However, there are only two tracks on the album that, being full-fledged with regard to progressiveness and originality alike, are really outstanding. Following one another right in the middle of the album, Legend of Green (6), which is the only instrumental composition here, and How It Goes (7), represent a pure Symphonic Art-Rock and being blended with Prog-Metal respectively.
Conclusion. Ten Jinn is a very talented group, but while "Alone" is a good rather than bad album, I had expected to hear something more original, at least. So whenever the band would go in their further creation, above all I wish them to reject using anything, which was used already. Which has become hard shall not triumph. May they laugh at their passion for being both 'classic' and popular, which isn't passion actually, as it's not the energy of soul, but the merely friction between senses and, say, demands of the present times. Generally, I don't think there is any necessity to try making Progressive Rock popular again, especially 'at any cost', as it happens most often. Just think of Opera and Classical music: in those spheres there are no worries about the elitist nature of the genres and their inaccessibility for masses.
VM: August 11, 2004
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