It's a little way backward for me. Amazed with TEN's "Babylon" I started wondering where it all comes from. The CD cover's very attractive, no surprise it was considered "cover of the year", but the music leaves the artwork far behind.
To say that TEN's fifth album is worse than the next one would be unjustice. I assume, the band has reached its peak and now they just can show us different facets of their art.
"Spellbound" smells of Celtic spirit. Never thought an american band could be such Brit-soaked! There is a folky center to the album that consists of three pieces - singalong "We Rule The Night" sung by a little choir with Bob Catley in, instrumental "Remembrance For The Brave" and "Red" that leads us back to hard rock route. Three pieces but they gather around the rest of material. Material quite standard stylistically but melodically...
The mucsicians' work and Gary Hughes' singing are truly flawless but the drumming of Greg Morgan should be praised high. He just intuitive feels HOW to play for melody to be winning.
On par with "Babylon" there are much more instruments on "Spellbound": traditional ones used for "Celtic trilogy", a string quartet with pure piano on "Wonderland" - the sound and the title must pull in URIAH HEEP fans.
The mood is set with the intro "March Of The Argonauts" that becomes "Fear The Force" which reminds of RAINBOW in 90s. "Inside The Pyramid Of Light" makes me think that Gary loves Coverdale very much but rock'n'roll is just rock'n'roll and nothing more, really. Out of line is "The Alchemist", the track's a little more pale than the rest.
A little bit more of originality and the album could be a masterpiece. Anyway, it's a wonder for the late 90s.