One of the few things that I’ve learned in the few months since starting this site is that you probably shoudn’t take too much notice of press releases. Every new album is accompanied by a few paragraphs detailing why said album is the pinnacle of human achievment. That’s not to say, of course, that they don’t serve a purpose. They can be essential when you’re feeling lazy and/or you need to check facts; but blimey they don’t half over do-it sometimes.
Therefore I took it with a pinch of salt when reading the blurb that accompanied the new album from Toronto four-piece Ten Kens. It described the bands second album, For Posterity, as feeling ‘like a spirit haunting the listener with a brooding dread’ – see what I mean? Thankfully though, this time at least, I have to hold my hands up because, as pretensious as that line may sound, it almost perfectly sums up the record.
Apparently the band decided to lock themselves away for large periods of time during the albums recording and it’s certainly helped to create a record that is a genuinely dark and claustrophobic listen from start to finish. Songs such as Back To Benign, Yellow Peril and album closer Can’t Not Be Dark are exactly the kind of raw, epic and, yes, brooding songs you would expect a rock and roll band to make after locking themselves away in a studio for days and nights on end.
That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of light however. Screaming Viking flys along on a killer riff that Queens Of The Stone Age would pay good money for, while Grassmaster is a slice of hardcore which is as immediate and raucous as it is thrilling. Another highlight is the album centre-piece Summercamp. The song plods along on a menacing bassline, a monster riff and some frantic drumming before suddenly taking you by surprise with a wonderful Women-esque guitar breakdown and an almost-spookily female-like vocal from frontman Dan Workman.
By fully throwing themselves in to the recording process Ten Kens have crafted a brilliant and genuinely unique record that is never anything less than compelling. For Posterity can, at times, be almost be stifling in its intensity but there are also moments where it still manages to sound utterly massive. A real triumph indeed.