The fifth album for 10 Years, Minus the Machine marks the band’s first album away from Universal. Distributed by Warner, so still with some promotion power behind it, the album was made independently so the group has been liberated with a lot of artistic freedom. The result is the band’s best effort since The Autumn Effect and a terrific album.
On the last two 10 Years records we heard a couple of key things, one being a move away from what’s always said to be a huge influence, Tool/A Perfect Circle. There were elements in those past two records of that influence but nothing like the group’s first two albums. The other key element was trying to move the band into the mainstream rock grouping. That just didn’t work. It’s never been what the good version of 10 Years has been about. This new album showcases 10 Years as more of an artistic rock band like Tool. It’s an album that showcases the band taking a lot of risks on songs like “Forever Fields” and “Writing on the Walls.” This is the type of release that 10 Years should always make, and more than a few songs on this record are among the band’s best pieces.
When something has an intense artistic focus, it means it’s not for everyone. If you’ve never liked this band, then this album won’t change your mind. If you don’t like Tool, then you’ve probably never liked this band. However, on the other side of that- if you like 10 Years, then you’ll love this album and it completely blows away what they’ve done over the past five years.