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Millenium - Puzzles CD (album) cover





3.85 | 116 ratings

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4 stars Polish band Millenium has been on the progressive rock scene for several years, in fact, this is their 8th studio album to date, though it is their first conceptual album, and the first one I listen. I got interested in this particular album due to some reviews I had read, and now that I got it I can tell it is a wonderful release, which is based in a story that shows the difficulty of relationships, taking as models the names of Adam and Eve and making some comparisions and metaphores during the whole story. The album is entitled "Puzzles" so each of the songs are indispensable jigsaws that together complete the puzzle.

This is a double CD album with a lenght of 45 minutes each, so once you decide to play it, open your mind and keep track of the music for one hour and a half, because it is worth it. The first CD has the name of "Together", while the second one of "Separately"; both consist of seven songs each. So the album kicks off with "Eden?" which is a two-minute instrumental and introductory track with keyboards and a guitar riff which will be used later in the album. This song leads to "The Tree of Knowledge", continues with cool guitar riffs and keyboard tunes that create a symphonic sound. At minute and a half vocals appear and the lyrical concept starts, while the music plays a catchy and lovable sound. The last part is instrumental with higher intensity.

"The First Man on the Earth" starts with guitar and a soft voice, seconds later the man begins to talk and express his feelings, it is like a monologue. The music is progressing little by little, though the structure may not be that complex, it is very well crafted. Here we can also appreciate changes in mood, from intense an sorrowful moments, to calmer and reflexing ones. "Apple & Snake" is one of my favorite tracks, it caught my attention since the very first listen. The first minute is instrumental and introductory, then vocals enter while keyboards make the atmosphere, the bass notes are complementary. Later the rhythm becomes more intense and stronger, though it is just for some seconds, because it slows down a bit. The atmosphere here is chaotic, tense and even dramatic. What I love of this track is that variety of sounds and those changes they managed to create in just six minutes.

With "The Sin" they share a totally different sound, with acoustic guitar that seems far of progressive rock, but that perfectly fits in this album. The vocals are mellow and the rhythm catchy, easy to learn and even to sing. The story is the great thing here, and worth mentioning is that in the booklet we can see some images and sentences that perfectly match with the story and the song in course. Here, they wrote "it is not sure who had the first sin?" and yeah, it isn't. Later there is a guitar riff that reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd's The Wall, which is one of the band's influences, as they described in ther website. The second part of the track is different, with some metal-like hints, spacey keys and a tense atmosphere. "Broken Rule" is an instrumental track that retakes the guitar solo of the first song; it is like the album's escence. Having this instrumental song allows us to create images in our minds and complement our own story.

The first CD finishes with its longest composition: "Everything About Her". It softly starts with guitars and keyboard ambience; after a minute and a half drums, bass, piano and vocals appear and continue with the conceptual story. In this track we can once again find a blend of emotions and musical elements that together continue building up the story, complementing that novel, or film, or play, that you are creating on your mind. The neo-prog sound is really evident in this song, more in the sixth minute, when I could really find some reminiscences of older acts such as Marillion, of course. A wonderful point about this album, is that here after 45 minutes I did not feel bored or tired at all, on the other hand, I was excited and eagerly waiting for the second album, so Millenium created a record easy to listen and enjoy.

Now, the second CD begins with "Farewell" and inthe first moments it shows more intensity, though later it calms down and creates a soft and pastoral sound. But guess what, it only lasts some seconds and later changes over and over, so here we can have soft and calm moments, with hope, sadness and regret. The music of this track reminds me a bit of "Apples & Snake", and in the instrumental moments, once again of Pink Floyd.. The next song is "The Prose of Life" which has a sympathetic piano sound and a really catchy sound; though it is also a good track, I believe this is my least favorite one, musically speaking, thanks to its first part where the catchy spirit reigns. However, the second part of the song becomes much more interesting, with great guitar riffs, cool keyboard moments and wonderful drums. So I can cut in half this song, choose the second one, and eliminate the first one.

"Ice Dreams" continues with a soft and catchy sound, but this time it does not harm the music, on the other hand, it helps reaching its goals, and its icy dreams. The chorus will surely make you sing here. After three and a half minutes there is a short passage where keyboards make a calm atmosphere, and I love when lyrics say "close your eyes and see your ice dreams", because it opens the gates to imagination so while the music sounds, you can create once again images in your head. "Time is the Great Healer" has the mellowest and more melancholic moment of the album, with its piano and voice. The structure is simple, but having put a song like this at this particular moment of the story, was a great choice. The last two minutes are wonderful, with the string instruments and drums on it, creating an emotional ending.

"Puzzled" is the only instrumental track of this second disc. Bass notes over a keyboard backgroud for the first moments. Later guitars and drums join and take us to their journey, with a joyful and hopeful sound that let us know that in spite of adversity, the puzzle can be completed. "We Try Again" is the longest of this second CD, and it retakes the album's essence but now with piano, not with guitar. Then vocals appear and little by little the song is adding elements and progressing. The first minutes are mellow, but later it changes and becomes a bit heavier, with a faster rhythm that creates a more exciting sound. Here I imagine Adam's mind and heart having a revolution, making all in his hands to save the relationship, like if his life would go with it. In this particular song one can have a feast of emotional passages, and even a mixture of feelings. This is one of the best moments of the whole album, without a doubt.

And it finishes with "Our Little Eden", in which for the first time a female voice, representing Eva appears, singing along with Adam, fusioning into one person, and creating their new and own paradise. The music here is easy to dig, and clearly shares that hope and joy the charachters have, with the re-born of their relationship. Though it may be a cliche to have happy endings, I don't care, and I am too happy with it.

I had a great experience with Millenium's "Puzzles", a wonderful concept album that I would like to recommend, mainly to symphonic rock and neo-prog.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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