Gone are the days when alternative rock made its way to mainstream radio as the 2010s usher in a wave of breathy, club-ready pop hits with little distinction. The neglected genre still thrives, however, in the company of its loyal fanbase. One such case is the Tennessee-native metal band 10 Years, consisting of vocalist Jesse Hasek, guitarist Matt Wantland and drummer Brian Vodinh.
Their eighth studio album “(How to Live) As Ghosts” was released in late October of this year and highlights the prevailing growth of a band whose previous record was thought to be their last. 10 Years is often compared with the vocal sensibilities and riff-heavy sound of other groups like Tool and Chevelle, and the songs on their newest release bear the same likeness.
Unfiltered and pure are the vocals on the 11 tracks, with Hasek’s voice taking center stage and opting to go without layering for a more natural, raw aesthetic, unlike 10 Years’ prior album “From Birth to Burial.” This distinction is like transitioning from a cold mortuary to the glow of a cemetery at daybreak, signifying the resurrection of the band and a rebirth in their musical style.
Songs like “Burnout” and “Vampires” highlight Hasek’s range from guttural shouts to power notes that quiver like a long-standing electric guitar chord. He evokes a superior control and tone that can resonate as commanding yet vulnerable, depending on the intensity of the track. A semblance of southern twang introduces “Lucky You,” innocently teasing with a plucky acoustic and introspective lyrics before an explosive bass line cuts in and Hasek belts out the chorus.
Although the lyrical writing remains a collaborative effort among the band members, Hasek has revealed that there was an attempt to be less cryptic in the construction of the verses.
Although never too blunt, there is a prevailing simplicity in the meaning of certain tracks, maintaining 10 Years’ signature motif of juxtaposing life and death. The album’s first single, “Novacaine,” spouts direct lyrics like “You’re dead as dead can be / You don’t feel a thing” and “Blood Red Sky” spares obscurity with “I am barely alive / Reaching my hand down to you.”
With this new album, 10 Years has cemented their status as a homegrown alternative metal group with enough passionate crooning and dynamic bass lines to appease music fans pining for something a little more emotive than Top 40 contenders. “(How to Live) As Ghosts” marks the beginning of a new afterlife, haunting listeners with its resounding melodies.
Notable Lyrics/ Standout Tracks:
Denial, decisions/ Could ever blur your vision/ But you blindly hold the key/ To a cage you’re just too scared to leave – “Halos”
The filament fades, thoughts decay/ Spinning around in place/ Keeping me slightly out of my own reach/ Never awake, never asleep/ Forever together alone/ Swallowed in a sea of indigo – “Insomnia”
So why would I wash my hands/ If I know they’ll get dirty again/ She said are you ready to commit/ But I just don’t know if a ring and a stone/ Can hold back the doubt in my heart/ And keep me out of the dark – “Lucky You”