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EXIST

Millenium

Neo-Prog


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4 stars I gave the previous album 4 stars and it seems that I have fallen into my own trap. This album is definitely much more better which puts me against the wall and I have to score this album with 5 stars. But I would not do it, it is an excellent album but still, it has its flaws. When I discovered Millenium with Numbers I knew they have it, the potential and I must confess I am not disappointed, heck even surprised. What deserves attention is the songwriting and the idea that instead of series of short songs the band decided to write 4 longer tracks - and this decision provided them with the opportunity to really show their instrumental abilities and on the other hand the opportunity to wider reflections on life and various stages of existence. The old Floydian patents in arrangements are present but in a good way. This always works with the strong tunes. Solos are really captivating, to use the cliche, especially interesting are the keyboards. And this time the solos are really developed. But what still is a flaw are the vocals. I mean there is nothing wrong with them, but I think that such music deserves better vocal themes and interpretation - unfortunately the singer sounds like the wood and does not turn me on. So, still 4 stars but this time they are very well deserved.

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Send comments to RaphaelT (BETA) | Report this review (#190094)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It was just a wild guess to take this album by Millenium. I didn't know this band at all but I saw they were from Poland and that made things a lot easier. Poland has brought so many great prog bands through the years and I saw this release had already received two 5 star and one 4 star rating. At least it had to be some good even though two of the three ratings came from compatriots.

And it gives me no greater satisfaction than when such a guess turns out to be a real winner, I can already reveal this one did ! I read in the one review that there were hints to Floydian guitarwork and you can notice that already in the first track. There are four long tracks on this release and that's only an advantage since I like longer tracks in general. This first one, Embryo, has some extremely nice instrumental contributions, first the guitar later on in the song some relaxed keyboards reminding me of 90's Eloy. The vocals aren't the most fabulous you will ever hear but in this first song it's compensated with fantastic compositions. There are also resembling moments to Satellite towards the end of the song. Maybe some typical Polish sounds.

Second song is called Up & Down and suddenly I hear the vocalist reminds me of the lead singer of Summer Indoors a British progband from the nineties. These vocals have a significant part in this song but again there are some tremendous instrumental moments that lift the song to a high level.

Also the third track starts with some unimpressive vocal lines which almost ruin it slightly but then the guitar comes in for a bit of help and suddenly the song sounds like a winner again. And that's in fact the secret for this entire album. The instrumental performances are of such incredible level that it turns the whole thing in a masterpiece.

And that becomes evidently clear with the last track. If there were any doubts at all about the status of this album, these are taken away in this final song. Road to Infinity is an amazing song in which musical perfection is ultimately reached.

The first three songs were somewhere in between 4 and 5 stars but as the last one easily reaches the full five I can't resist the temptation to give this album the full score. There are a few reasons for this. First: the average score over 4 songs is significantly above 4,5 stars. Second: this is instrumentally one of the best and most perfect albums I ever heard. Third: the compositions are truly of the highest level. And 4th and most important reason: it suits my personal taste the best way possible. Maybe objectively it's not quite a masterpiece but in my book it is. So 5 stars for Exits.

I think the band description on PA tells it perfectly: influences from Pink Floyd, Pendragon, Collage and Arena which are all favourite bands of mine. So it's not really a surprise it gets the full score.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#199637)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars Millenium is another welcome discovery (no, not the very disco ELO album!) from Polska and contrary to newbies Nemezis, these gents have been around a while but somehow escaped my often astute spotlight. I guess I need to fine tune my prog radar but it's a good thing to have followed PA's "progrules" advice and I took the plunge! They started out in 2000, hence the reason they call themselves Millenium and this is their 8th album (oh, my gosh!) and it's an unbelievable outing. Led by keyboardist Ryszard Kramarski , this crew likes the extended neo-prog sweet suite style with lavish and languid tempos , overflowing with sweeping synth and sublime guitar soloing with some accentless vocals courtesy of Lukas Gall. I jokingly reflected that the reason musicians get into prog is because they can't find decent vocalists, so they concentrate on the compositions, they exception being Satellite and Collage both having the effusive Robert Amirian handling the mike. These lads are creative players, four tracks ranging between 11 and 16 minutes, with some interesting takes on a well-travelled genre and there are some cool moments and makes for some enjoyable listening .The rhythm section has some Warr guitar which certainly denotes some adventurous connotations or desires. "Embryo" initiates the slowly evolving bliss ride, assuredly in a quiet Floydian vein, with that chunky/bluesy screaming guitar that emotes like no other, swooning amid a tapestry of deliberate sounds until Lukas grabs the mike. "Guit-slinger" Piotr Plonka slithers in a few choice licks, using the volume pedal to great effect and weaving nicely with Kramarski's fleeting synthesized runs. Not exactly Gentle Giant but then who is? When some athletic fingered piano diverts the piece into a harder edge, the mood veers into a rollicking pounder, another excuse to let the 6 strings roam into the ether. An interesting opener that bodes well for the rest of the album. "Up & Down" has some underlying robotic effects that recall 80s synth pop but with zippingly exuberant guitars upfront pushing the envelope. A cool organ rampages nicely through the gale, "up and down" the keyboard as I to keep the joy ride alive and brimming. The piano serves as a welcome interlude and signals a return to the revelry. "Rat Race" is my fave here, an angry little ditty full of passionate singing, passionate playing and a chorus that has a lot of oomph! The blazing guitar scorches like phosphorescent explosion, reeling in well-meant agony aided by some audacious rhythmic swings. The final track "Road to Infinity" gets the epic aspect cranking and assembles a lush table with curious riffs and circuitous patterns that are perhaps more hard-edged than the usual British-based neo- prog, yet still able to blend various moods that cannot plod on senseless. This will need some more time in my multiple CD players and will probably settle in nicely as a most welcome addition to my prog empire. This is not the album of the year, far from it but a very pleasant excursion into melodic progressive landscapes. 4 human turtles.

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#219408)
Posted Monday, June 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The storied reputation of Polish neo progressive rock is being earned day in and day out. Proponents from that country adapt the sweeping epics of their British antecedents with the simple sense of melody of their local compatriots. In the case of MILLENIUM, add in plenty of that deliberate Dave Gilmour soloing and vocals and you are looking at and listening to one of the more ear-pleasing albums of the last decade.

I usually back off when I see a track listing with only a few pieces, each of greater than 10 minutes in length. Neo prog groups in particular tend to overflex their rudimentary prog musculature until they lose all tone. Tis true that COLLAGE's classic "Moonshine" contained several epics that worked well, as did SATELLITE's first couple of albums, but all of these contained interspersed cuts of "normal" length. But Millenium pulls it off admirably by arranging songs around fundamental melodic lines and branching out around them, such that the tracks, while not quite suites, provide both continuity and security to the fragile listener.

All 4 opuses are strong, but my favourites are the first and last, telling the story of pre-birth and wished-for eternal life of our existence. In the first, "Embryo", I am reminded of fellow Poles ANNALIST as the tune begins reflectively, albeit with a notable processionary rhythm. The lead guitars from Piotr Płonka are Floydian, a la Shine On, but are not out for a long jam, just to set the stage. Łukasz Gall's expressive voice is in the league of Robert Amirian (and Dave Gilmour), as much in style as substance. The tune is mostly mellow, but with a tuneful more aggressive component that slips in and reappears later. In between is an ambient and richly melodic section led by Ryszard Kramarski 's synthesizers that gently capture the spotlight, but not for the last time on the disk. Indeed I have not drooled over keys this much since some of ELOY's masterworks of the late 70s and early 80s. This is the good stuff!

In the album closer, "Road to Infinity" drags us into the current much more quickly but just as effectively. More moogish sounds assume the lead backed by the full band contingent, even strummed acoustic guitars. A more aggressive angular melody ensues before another extended dreamy sequence. It all fades out with a delicate piano figure. The grand sweep and contrasts have as much going for them as in Satellite's best work.

The middle cuts are not quite as good overall, and contain somewhat more poppy segments, and even some nods to HAWKWIND in "Rat Race". The spoken word parts in this track are a bit too much of a novelty item and wear thin after a few listens, so I end up fast forwarding through their silliness. But the track culminates in a fit of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST tinged emotion reminiscent of "For No One" that more than salvages its reputation. "Up and Down" includes master organ work in the early going, and a delicate extended lead. Its only notable flaw is in some odd vocoder type bleeps and burps that just don't work, but don't sink the ship by any means, especially when redeemed by a delicate lead guitar over bass passage.

This wonderful album will furnish all but the most hardened progger with 55 minutes in which to thrive and flourish, rather than simply perpetuate your musical existence. And that is the essence of good music, whatever its genre or millenium. 4.5 stars.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#227804)
Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Ace in the Hole.

Poland is full of surprises; hey, they might rule the earth one day why not? Er...the prog world I meant. Imagine Riverside as Minister of Defense...nobody would mess with them!!

Millenium delivers a solid album with strong points: Gilmouresque solos, floating atmosphere and lushious keyboards. Okay, that's like 90% of the néo-prog genre you say...and a 100% of Satellite's act... Yes, but it's nicely done compared to all the wannabees out there! 4 long pieces instead of short ones (rare in this category), long Strat solos and good Moog use (think Shine on You Crazy Diamond or early Arena).

If you like Rob Sowden's vocals, grand piano, majestic instrumental moments and Satellite's approach: well hot dog, we have a weiner. Finding original and pushing Neo-prog is like speed dating: there is a lot to listen to and sometimes the wait is long before contacting the Right One.

Do not bother searching too far, this album has enough good ratings to try it without the bitter taste of investing into another clone.

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Send comments to Menswear (BETA) | Report this review (#423198)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Poland's Millenium go for a particularly proggy structure for this album, consisting of just four songs with a running time of at least 11 minutes each. This time around, they seem to be having a go at incorporating a few modern electronic sounds into their musical approach in a manner reminiscent at points of the first Satellite album, but also counterbalancing this with subduded acoustic moments. It's a pleasant enough listen, though I would agree with kenethlevine that the album does sag a little in the middle, and if I'm brutally honest the opening and closing tracks, whilst good, aren't what I'd call brilliant either. Overall, Exist feels like a somewhat transitional album, as though Millenium are pausing to reflect on where to take their sound next.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#732983)
Posted Thursday, April 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars What one notices immediately about this 2008 album, is the artwork where on the front cover a boy is crawling towards the sea through open doors, while on the beach next to him is the band name and album title written in the sand. On the rear of the booklet is a hand poking out of the sand. Are we witnessing a birth in a similar fashion to that of a baby turtle, or is it the last frantic movement of someone who has been buried and is dying? That may all seems a bit dark and deep, but take it from me here is a band that want you to think about the lyrics ? which is why they are printed in both English and Polish (although sung in English). Musically they also want you to take a breath and dive into their world with opener "Embryo" having more than a hint of Pink Floyd about it. This is more symphonic, with plenty of 'trad prog' elements, although they do also riff to remind us that they are generally neo-prog.

Only four songs, but the shortest is just under twelve minutes long and the extended length allows them to really explore. They mix up with mellotrons with more modern sounds, with the guitar often being allowed to take the lead while bassist Krzysztof Wyrwa and drummer Tomasz Paśko are such a complete rhythm section that it is possible to overlook their contribution: if they are just to provide simplicity then they are there, but if complex runs and fills are required then they can deliver it with ease. This is again an album of great maturity and musical dexterity while also being immediate and totally accessible. www.millenium.art.pl

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#953491)
Posted Friday, May 03, 2013 | Review Permalink

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