Millennium - A New World

Millennium A New World cover
A New World
Pure Steel Records
Millennium made quite a name for themselves, on the strength of an eponymous 1984 album, which has achieved cult status, among fans, with it pleasurable, if not unspectacular traditional NWOBHM styling. They broke up a few years later after a series of demos (that No Remorse Records GR later compiled and released) and the band was resurrected in 2016, largely by the singer Mark Duffy, with a new line up around him.
Their first new album “Awakening” got relatively little fanfare around its release and “A New World” that is being released now is similarly not really given any serious coverage in media around the world. It’s a concept album about the world being led to a purge and society picking up after some cataclysmic, apocalyptic situation (possibly ww3) sort of resets humanity to a simpler state.
The musical style is involved to a slightly more modern powerful heavy metal, which still sounds quite British by all means, but what really sets the post reunion Millennium really apart from the 80s band, are the vocals, which surprise-surprise, do come from the same person. The post millennial Mark Duffy sounds rather gruff and rough, which is hardly reminiscent of his 80s style. Think of Algy from Tank… but less punk and more melodic and gruff…
“Give Me a Sign” begins with some neat riffs, and a brooding atmosphere the vocals reinforce, despite some momentary guitar forays into major territory.
“World War 3” is far darker and heavier, a lot more dramatic, if not a little more straightforward and in your face.
But as the band launches into the far more optimistic “A New World”, things tend to flat out pretty badly. It’s a trend that starts midway, through “ww3”, but all over the next few tracks, despite the musical drop, the vocals tend to follow a similarly monotonous tone, carrying the tune, but hardly with the sort of conviction and passion that would be necessary to make em worth.
“All Out War” is no better, as it lament’s the social decadence.
“King of Kings” tries to differentiate itself a bit with some flashy guitar parts, here and there, but it’s plodding mid-tempo, dictates that the vocals also lazily follow along. It’s probably one of the songs that suffers the most from the heavy and gruff vocal style that lacks agility, which is a pity cause it has a pretty good solo in there.
“Assassin” is a lot better, as musically it plays out as a Maiden meets Priest 80s tune with bits of Accept thrown in for good measure, but the vocals are such that would make Grave Digger’s Chris Boltendahl, sound like Julio fucking Inglessias… so yea … not so good.
“Summon the Dragons” has some cool music going on, but the vocals totally feel anti-climactic and out of place. Plus the whole – let’s throw some medieval twist to a sci-fi, futuristic scenario route it goes for, makes little logical sense… I mean it’s a fictional story, but sticking in something totally fantasy based, screws up with the whole make-belief aspect of the concept.
“Kill or Be Killed” is another slightly Maidenesque sounding tune with a title that Dee Snider, might stick a claim for and finally a bit more fire and passion.
“Obsolete” talks about how robots could try to take over the “obsolete” human race and while it has some charm it’s probably a little too by the numbers on a multitude of levels. The solo is interesting though.
“Victory” is a genuinely nice, anthemic song and even with Duffy’s clumsy vocals – it is probably one of the top tracks on offer here...
There’s a bit of a conundrum here. A fairly good album musically, with really poor vocals from a guy that’s sung much better in the past. Whether his voice has been damaged or he sings like this on purpose is a bit of a mystery… but if for instance Dee Snider was singing the same songs, he’d be selling the songs… as it stands that’s not the case… not quite the range or timbre to successfully get the message across. A missed opportunity…