Released: 2015, Ulterium Records
Where did these guys come from? Somehow I missed Millennial Reign’s self-released eponymous debut in 2012, this Dallas/Ft. Worth band already on their 2nd album in CARRY THE REIGN. Formed in 2010, the band has signed with Ulterium Records for their new album. Millennial Reign plays a hallowed style of vintage US power metal combined with modern melodic metal. Yeah, the revivalist thing has been going on for quite some time in many subgenres of metal, but rarely is it executed this intelligently or magnificently. Thus, it is no understatement to say that had Queensrÿche continued to write albums in the style of their 1983 debut EP, and added generous doses of Eden’s Curse, then CARRY THE REIGN would be the a close approximation.
The lineup has changed from the debut, with new vocalist James Guest replacing Trae Doss. The only original member, is guitarist Dave Harvey, who relinquished bass studio duties to Daniel Almagro to focus on guitar and songwriting. New skinman Wayne Stokley rounds out the lineup. Guest makes an immediate impact, having a greater range than Doss that recalls Geoff Tate in his prime. “Forever Changed” leads thing off and is probably the signature track, most of the production budget probably being blown on this track alone. The tune is firmly rooted in the heyday of US metal, recalling Crimson Glory, Heir Apparent and Shok Paris musically, with Guest effortlessly lifting the song above your standard fare.
Combined with the band’s classic sound are elements of modern melodic metal as evidenced by “Save Me” and its use of more keyboards. The guitar work from Harvey and Jason Donnelly is particularly impressive throughout, the duo finding plenty of progressive and grand guitar melodies to complement Guest’s soaring vocals. It’s pretty hard not to lock into the bouncing gallop of “This Day”, a tune that is simply true metal. Speaking of which, as evidenced by the band photos, these guys are not youngsters trying to emulate a style and movement from which they have no life experience of that era to draw upon. This is often the case with revivalist band, god bless ‘em. No, these guys clearly are a product of that time, and consequently instill an authenticity in the music that shows a command of all the intangibles the young dogs simply cannot harness.
The production is a mild hindrance but by no means a deal breaker. This often is the compromise one must accept when dealing with impoverished metal, as this style is never going to lead to a lucrative lifestyle, which is a pity. Not much more to say really. This is formidable metal from a band that understands that a great singer, solid riffs, and melodies that never grow old are what make metal great. Fans of old school bands like Crimson Glory, Queensrÿche and Shok Paris should check this out, but so should fans of other great new bands like Reason. Definitely recommended.