May 032018

Power metal band Millennial Reign is back with a new lineup for their third album continuing in vein of previous work.

Dallas Texas-based Millennial Reign traces its roots back to a solo project by founding member and guitarist Dave Harvey.  Writing began in 2010 and over the next couple of years, Dave added a full band and released the self-titled debut in 2012.  In 2015, the band released Carry the Fire on Ulterium Records and then toured with the likes of Stryper, Sonata Arctica, Leaves Eyes, Theocracy, Hammerfall, and Joe Lynn Turner.  For The Great Divide, Harvey added new members Travis Wills (vocals), Steve Nichols (drums), and Neil Bertrand (bass) and had performances recorded, mixed, and mastered by Ty Sims. As they did following their last release, Millennial Reign is scheduled to support Stryper and Hammerfall in June and then will play Mexico for the first time.

As you might expect from a power metal band, the opening track is merely an instrumental to set the tone for the album and while I usually don’t like them, this one featuring a fast, frenetic drum line backing a orchestral section sets up the anticipation very well.  “Break the Tide” starts out with a nice riff accented by keyboards before settling into a choppier section for the initial verse sections and sounding very much like older Queensryche both musically and vocally.  Travis Mills vocals are made for power metal and shows good range and overall tone.  Guitars are prominent in the mix and the keyboards nicely layered in while the rhythm section is also very clear in the mix as one would expect for power metal.  At this point, on first listen, I was pretty sure this was a European band, forgetting that I’ve reviewed some of their earlier releases, so seeing the Dallas, Texas part was a bit of a surprise.  One can easily see why Millennial Reign has supported the bands they have on tour.

“More than Scars” continues in a similar vein but has some other elements and arrangements that highlight some of the great drumming and riffs the band is capable of and for this song the keyboards take a more prominent role at times but in a way that feels and sounds natural, which is an element many bands struggle with.  Dave Harvey also knows how to fit a solo into a song making it fit and not seem like the song is just a vehicle to showcase his guitar chops.

The band’s second video, “Till the End” is a great song to get the full Millennial Reign experience.  There is the opening keyboard section with a driving rhythm section coming to fade out and a great guitar riff filling the silence.  For lack of a better analogy, the lone guitar riff in the opening part of this song reminds me a lot of some of the Warren DeMartini ones in older Ratt songs or maybe some George Lynch, but note that similarity ends quickly as this is not hair metal.  Travis Wills’ vocal talents are on full display in this song, from lower, clean, singing to the higher register near screams and Dave Harvey adds another good solo.

“In Your Silence” shows the band slowing things down considerably compared to the rest of the album in the song that is closest to a power ballad.  To me there is a lot of late 80’s metal influence in this song in particular, and the alternating between slower, quieter verse sections and faster chorus sections works really well to keep interest in the song and demonstrates the great arrangements in the songs.  “Wounds in Hand” is a song that reminds me a lot of Mindcrime-era Queensryche in terms of overall song structure and even guitar tone and riffs, all of which are good things.  Closing out the album, “The Great Divide” shows the band using a driving rhythm and some heavier riffs to carry the song with the keyboard accents keeping things a bit brighter.

Much like with Carry the Fire, this is essentially a new band with only Dave Harvey returning and yet, the strong performances and excellent songwriting give this album the sound of a veteran band that oddly enough seems as if they have matured from the previous album.  This is one of those albums that is a great collection of songs, each a bit different than the rest but never straying from what give the band its identity.

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

Track listing
01. The Genesis
02. Break The Tide
03. More Than Scars
04. Imagine
05. Till The End
06. In Your Silence
07. The Day The Sun Stood Still
08. Behind The Time
09. Wounds In Hand
10. The Great Divide

Band Members
Travis Wills – Vocals
Dave Harvey – Guitars
Steve Nichols – Drums
Neil Bertrand – Bass

“Carry The Fire” (2015) [review]

Record Label: Ulterium Records

Release Date: 25th. May 2018

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video for ‘Til the End’

Video for ‘Break the Tide’


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