North Eastern NWoBHM survivors Millennium have released a new album. In our nostalgia-happy times this is almost certainly going to be greeted with rapture in some quarters, but in reality their new album, A New World, isn’t going to set that many ears alight with it’s trad metal stylings.
The first half of the album is pretty forgettable, if truth be told; the band warm up as things progress, however, and three tracks in the ‘side two’ portion of the album – Assassin, Summon The Dragon and Kill Or Be Killed – see the band in their best light.
The problem for casual listeners is going to be the monotonal vocal approach of Mark Duffy. Duffy is the last surviving original component of the band and clearly a metal lifer. When the rest of the original lineup went south after Millennium folded the first time around, Duffy lent his stentorian bark to UK proto thrashers Toronaga. Within those less melodically-dependent parameters he shone brightly, but here, where ears prefer a little more dynamism to their vocalising, his grimly coarse vocal approach is always going to lose the band points with floating voters. Album closer Victory, for instance, sounds here just what it is – superior pub metal – when a better, more three dimensional voice might have boosted the track in the eyes of the uncommitted. Even Duffy first time round might have sung it in a slightly more ‘traditional’ style, as he’s definitely developed something of a Hetfieldian rasp through the decades.
There’s no faulting the band’s sincerity or commitment to the Brit metal cause, of course, and when things click, as they do on the afore-mentioned standouts Summon The Dragons and Kill Or Be Killed, you even find yourself starting to believe they might indeed have a future as a late afternoon attraction at some of the many nostalgia-based Euro metal festivals springing up all over mainland Europe; But, with new Tygers of Pan Tang and Blitzkrieg releases on the horizon, their time to capitalise might be short; competition is stiff in the NWoBHM revival stakes, and A New World might just be too-short on old world charm in the long term for Millennium.
A New World is out now.