Lynx Music [Release date 25 May 2013]
Despite the wave of fabulous progressive rock emanating from Eastern Europe at the moment, don’t get the idea that Millenium are just another new Polish band riding on the coat-tails of the likes of Riverside, Satellite, Believe, et al, as they have been at the forefront of the genre for over ten years now.
Founded in Krakow by keyboard whizz Ryszard Kramarski way back in 1999, the band first appeared on most people’s radar in 2008 with their superb ‘Exist’ album – and now they’ve returned to kick your ass with another dazzling display of prog-rock artistry guaranteed to get the juices flowing.
‘Ego’ is the band’s ninth studio album and it’s obvious from the outset that they have used the years well – honing their musical and songwriting skills to a razor sharpness.
Six tracks in total and prog-heads will be delighted to learn that four of them clock in at over nine minutes apiece.
The same prog-heads will also be delighted with the quality and scope of the album, veering from the insistent pulse and delicate acoustic guitar figure of the opening title track, through to the final gossamer-like piano arpeggios of closer ‘Goodbye My Earth’.
In between they take on the entire progressive canon with a myriad of time-signature changes, a contemporary libretto and pounding guitar riffage juxtaposed with sensitive keyboard and vocal harmony work.
There is also, dare we say it, a faint whiff of commerciality now and then, especially on second track ‘Born In ‘67’ – AOProgR if you will – but rescued by one the most exquisite guitar solos you’ll hear.
The band have also (sparingly) used instruments not necessarily associated with progressive rock – such as trumpet and saxophone – which lend real variety to the tracks where they appear. Add to this heady mix a soupcon of sublime female backing vocals, courtesy of Karolina Leszko, and the circle is complete.
‘Ego’ could be the game-changer for Millenium and after all this time it would be nothing less than they deserve.
If you thought Polish progressive rock begins and ends with Riverside, think again. Millenium are lacing up their size thirteens and your arse is in their sights.
Review by Alan Jones
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