MILLENNIAL REIGN - CARRY THE FIRE (2015, Ulterium Records)
Impressive new album from the US heavy metal band Millennial Reign. Perfect for fans of Iron Maiden, Queensryche, Judas Priest and Crimson Glory.
Artwork by Felipe Machado Franco [Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Theocracy] and design by Jan Yrlund [Delain, Apocalyptica, Korpiklaani]. The album was mixed and mastered at Nomad Studio [King Diamond, Solitude Aeturnus, Absu].
Imagine 80?s Iron Maiden/mid 80?s Queensryche metal driven by the lyrical conviction and keyboards of Sacred Warrior and you have a good idea of what Millennial Reign is all about. Yet another fantastic band recently signed to Ulterium Records, these guys lay down the power metal with unabashed fervor. Their self-titled debut from 2012 was more of a solo project of ASKA?s Dave Harvey, but with new singer James Guest (Eden?s Realm) on board not only are they the ?real deal? band but the guys have also really stepped up the quality ? songwriting and execution. Guest?s voice is a good mix of Dickenson, Tate and Parra. A bit heavier, faster and more dynamic than Saint, these guys pay plenty of respects to Sacred Warrior and even Bloodgood with these songs (tons of layered vocals). And while they may lose a few marks for originality (lots of Iron Maiden influence here) there is no denying that if this had been released in 1988 during the peak of the early Christian metal movement this would have been huge. The guitars have plenty of that rhythmic crunch we metalheads crave yet there is plenty of melody, and the solos/leads shred. The drumming balances rhythm with speed and mixes things up pretty well ? a nice balance between the more modern double bass driven power metal and the old-school McBrain gallops. Oddly, there is nothing in the credits to indicate who is performing the keyboard parts. I think the vocals overwhelm the mix just a bit, but overall these songs sound really good.
Highlights include the inspirational and dynamic rocker ?Forever Changed,? ?Millennial Reign? (band-named metal anthems rule!), the hopeful ?Men Stand Alone,? the Eastern-styled ?Innocent Cry? and the more melodic metal ?Not On My Own.? And then finally the soaring ?I?ll Try? may just be the best track on the whole record ? what a way to close out the set! Fans of inspirational metal which gives God the glory really have nowhere else to look for a new friend. Along with the new Stryper and Worldview releases, Carry The Fire does just that ? keep it burning!