I had trouble trying to get into Ten Jinn as most of the material though good, really didn’t grab me.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Ten Jinn
ALBUM: As On A Darkling Plain
LABEL: Record Heaven
SERIAL: RHCD 18
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: John Paul Strauss – vocals * Michael Matier – guitars * Stan Whittaker – guitars * Bob Niemeyer – keyboards * Matt Overholser – bass * Mark Wickliffe – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 As On A Darkling Plain * 02 1.i – The Dance Of Les Innocents * 03 1.ii – Darkling Plain * 04 1.iii – Byzantine Fire * 05 1.iv – Theater Of The Vampires * 06 1.v – Those Who Must Be Kept * 07 1.vi – Beautiful Marquise * 08 1.vii – The Legacy Of Magnus * 09 1.viii – Run Away * 10 Lost In The Money * 11 Blind Authority * 12 Rock * 13 I Can’t See * 14 Tomorrow * 15 Lay Down Beside Me (In The Rain)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Here we have a Los Angeles based progressive rock band called Ten Jinn working out on a Swedish label. Record Heaven are garnering a reputation for releasing quality product based around progressive rock as well as early 70’s styled hard rock bordering on the psychedelic genre.
In the case of Ten Jinn, they are very much in the present tense, with a sound crossing between Saga, Kansas and some of those Magna Carta label bands such as Cairo and Shadow Gallery.
As with a typical progressive band, there’s lot of intricate keyboards and grandiose musical passages where the album theme gets explained from one track to the next. In one case, we get mutterings based around the works of novelist Anne Rice.
The lead singer John Paul Strauss moves easily between the vocal style of Michael Sadler (Saga) Tracy White (Shotgun Symphony) and Geoff Tate (Queensryche), while the complexity of the music keeps the listener on their toes. Guitarist Michael Matier has also appeared with fellow Californian progsters The Light.
Now as far as progressive rock goes, Ten Jinn is definitely on the lighter side where the emphasis is on musical dexterity, rather than the all out bludgeon of a band like Symphony X for instance. There are some good performances here: track 2 ‘Darkling Plain’ is good and musically interesting, the instrumental ‘The Legacy Of Magnus’ is a superb lead-in to ‘Run Away’.
The Saga comparisons kick in on tracks like The Dance Of Les Innocents’ and ‘Lost In The Money’. Ten Jinn has some commercial moments too such as ‘Blind Authority’ and the rather quirky ‘Byzantine Fire’.
However, for the most part, I had trouble trying to get into the heart of the album as most of the material though good, really didn’t grab me. I found the vocal style and the harpischords a little bit offputting at times.
Though on the other hand, the musicianship was excellent throughout, with some interesting ideas and arrangements being explored. A good introduction nonetheless to an above average progressive rock band, who could improve remarkably with some fine tuning.