Millennial Reign – “Carry the Fire”


millennial_reign_artwork_f3fFull on melodic power metal can be a tricky genre as expectations around production, vocals, and guitar typically run extremely high and if not perfect many will not be impressed.  Millenvial Reign reenter the fray with their second album Carry the Fire.

Dallas, Texas, home of Millennial Reign, is more often associated in metal probably with Pantera  and their brand  of southern groove metal than with power metal that is often associated with Europe { I do know that Pantera’s home was not Dallas but they were close enough in Texas for that comparison).  The band itself started as a solo project by Dave Harvey who recruited some other members and recorded their debut self-titled album in 2012.  When time came for the second album, the original band members were not available, so Dave recruited some new players through a variety of means, even finding vocalist James Guest (Eden’s Realm) through an online ad.  Mixing and mastering for Carry the Fire was done at Nomad Studio by JT Longoria and Gary Long and the band signed to Ulterium Records for the release.

From the very beginning of the music on “Forever Changed”, the experienced power metal listener will immediately pick up a Queensrÿche Empire –era vibe and then when the vocals come in, one could likely pass this off as Geoff Tate and a new Queensrÿche song, right down to the vocal inflections and guitar fills.  The songs has an interesting drum rhythm that adds a good level of interest.   Production is spot on for this style but the vocals may be a bit too much in the front at least for my liking.  As expected, guitars are prominent as well and there are some good solo spots and fills in the songs that are so important in this style.  If anything, the songs end up being a bit on the longer side, with most being over five minutes, which in this day and age might actually earn the prog label from some.

In general, the songs are strong and the musicianship is good, but some of the songs tend to blend into each other.  For instance, some of the riffs in the opening of “Way Up High” and “Men Stand Alone”  and in “Will You” and “I’ll Try” sound very similar and there is a bit of general feeling that you’ve heard this all before.  Lyrically, the band is very unapologetically Christian in their subject matter and focus and that will undoubtedly group them with bands like Stryper, who incidentally could be another band they remind you of.  Songs like “Save Me” and “Innocent Cry” with their keyboard openings and “Will You” with its keyboard presence throughout the verse sections do provide some variety to the overall sound on the album.

Millennial Reign have put an impressive album from a sonic standpoint and especially considering this is essentially the first album for a band that underwent a nearly complete lineup change.  I would almost consider this a debut album and as such, a very impressive one.  If you’re looking for strong musicianship and vocals in a new power metal band, you will want to give Carry the Fire a listen.

Rating: 7/10

Written by John Jackson

“Carry The Fire” track listing
01. Forever Changed
02. Way Up High
03. Millennial Reign
04. Men Stand Alone
05. Save Me
06. This Day
07. Will You
08. Innocent Cry
09. Not On My Own
10. I’ll Try

Band Members:
James Guest – Lead Vocals
Dave Harvey – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jason Donnelly – Guitars
Daniel Almagro – Bass
Wayne Stokley – Drums

Record Label: Ulterium Records, Oct. 2015

Weblinks: WebsiteFacebook / Twitter

“Carry The Fire” [CD/LP] can be pre-ordered at the Ulterium Records Store

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video below: “Carry The Fire” (Album Teaser)

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