10 Years have delivered a dynamic, tuneful collection of mainstream hard rock on Feeding the Wolves
. Building on 2008’s Division
, the quartet maximize everything on their new disc: emotions, hooks, you name it. 10 Years may still be a little too generic in their sonic identity, but bolstered by new producer Howard Benson
they’ve figured out how to capitalize on their ability to crank out radio-ready tunes with apparent ease.
A Winning Combination of Ballads and Rockers
Their first album since the departure of founding guitarist Matt Wantland
, Feeding the Wolves
is a predictable mixture of deeply melodic mid-tempo numbers and shred-heavy rockers. But led by frontman Jesse Hasek, the Tennessee quartet skillfully weave together their different sounds into consistently engaging and accessible material. When a particular song doesn’t fully captivate, you can practically hear the stitching that binds verses and choruses together into a jumbled whole. But when they hit their stride, 10 Years prove themselves to be seasoned pros.
Many Highlights ... and One Questionable Exclusion
Feeding the Wolves is an unusual album in that one of its very best songs, the hypnotic acoustic track “I Blame You,” is available only as an iTunes bonus cut. Still, there are enough other highlights on the standard-release album to (somewhat) make up for that omission. The moody ballad “Don’t Fight It” finds Hasek addressing a lover, hoping that they have a future despite their previous ups and downs. Very much cut from the same cloth as “I Blame You,” “One More Day” builds from a spooky guitar opening into an expert radio-friendly chorus. But it’s not just the ballads on Feeding the Wolves that are strong. “Dead in the Water” is a catchy, kicky rebuke to cynical religious leaders, while “Fade Into (The Ocean)” is a prototypical, epic album-closing track, full of intricate musical interplay and perfectly calibrated crescendos. Hasek doesn’t have much original to say in his lyrics, but 10 Years make sure that no matter what he’s singing about the listener feels it in his bones.
A Kiss-Off That Should Have Stayed Off the Album
Depressingly, the weakest track on Feeding the Wolves is its opening cut and lead single. “Shoot It Out” is meant to be a militant kiss-off to the music industry’s greed and glitz, but the buzzsaw guitars and clenched-teeth vocals are almost laughable in their heavy-handedness. Still, credit Benson for making the overblown track sound pretty damn impressive as it barrels out of your speakers. Other songs on Feeding the Wolves lapse into hard-rock clichés, but only “Shoot It Out” feels like a waste of time. It’s too bad 10 Years didn’t decide to jettison it for “I Blame You,” which would have allowed this strong album to be even more stellar.
'Feeding the Wolves' – Best Tracks