Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Mike Oldfield

Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mike Oldfield The Millenium Bell album cover
2.32 | 177 ratings | 11 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Collectors/fans only

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Peace On Earth (4:09)
2. Pacha Mama (4:06)
3. Santa Maria (2:44)
4. Sunlight Shining Through Cloud (4:33)
5. The Doge's Palace (3:08)
6. Lake Constance (5:16)
7. Mastermind (3:04)
8. Broad Sunlit Uplands (4:03)
9. Liberation (2:38)
10. Amber Light (3:50)
11. The Millenium Bell (7:36)

Total Time: 45:07

Line-up / Musicians

- Mike Oldfield / Roland VG8 synth guitar, arrangements, producer

- Camilla Darlow / soprano girl vocals (1,3)
- Nicola Emmanuel / vocals (2,10,11)
- David Serame / vocals (2,10,11)
- Miriam Stockley / vocals (2,9-11)
- Martay / vocals (4)
- Helen "Pepsi" DeMacque / vocals (4,9,11)
- Andrew Johnson / treble vocals (10)
- Gota Yashiki / drums (7,9), percussion (10,11)
- Robin Smith / strings & choir orchestration/conductor (5,6,8,11) and co-arranger (11)
- DJ Pippi / co-arranger (11)
- The London Session Orchestra (5,6,8,11)
- The London Händel Choir (1-3,5,9-11)
- The Grant Gospel Choir (2,4,9-11)
- Greta Hegerland-Oldfield / narration (9)

Releases information

Artwork: Hjordis Fogelberg-Jensen / Blue Cactus

CD WEA ‎- 8573808852 (1999, Europe)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MIKE OLDFIELD The Millenium Bell Music

MIKE OLDFIELD The Millenium Bell ratings distribution

(177 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(14%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (25%)

MIKE OLDFIELD The Millenium Bell reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars Actually this is a discontinuous work, filtered through the commercial exigencies and with the main defect that He makes his enormous talent emerge in a few circumstances here. This l.p. is not essential but is anyway quite interesting!!
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars For whom the bell tolls

Yet another album from Oldfield with the "Bell" sales enhancing name. This one however bears even less relation to "Tubular bells" than any of the others. Apparently a "journey through time", the tracks reflect different periods or events in the last two thousand years, such as the birth of Christianity, the discovery of the Americas, the slave trade, etc, before moving to the future with the final two tracks.

The early tracks include tribal chanting, while "Sunlight through the clouds" uses the lyrics of "Amazing grace", performed in a rather dull and pointless way. The music tends to become more sophisticated as the album moves on through time, "Lake Constance" for example being a purely orchestral piece inspired by the romantic period poets.

The final five tracks represent the 20th century and beyond. The music here is diverse, ranging from another orchestral piece, through further tribal chants, to disco dance rhythms.

There's some pleasant music on this album, but whether it's worthy of the "Bell" series tag is questionable. It's by no means Oldfield's best, the diversity in many ways spoiling the album, rather than enhancing it.

Review by richardh
3 stars Surprisingly enjoyable album that has nothing to do with Tubular Bells despite the use of 'Bell' in the title.This is a very nice album and one that I can happily tolerate even of it's not prog really.
Review by russellk
1 stars a.k.a. 'Mike's Retirement Fund'.

This album makes me unreasonably angry. On it MIKE OLDFIELD attempts to appeal to every money-spending instinct we have, from Christmas to the Millennium to tourism - and, of course, let's add the 'bell' to increase sales. Even the cover design looks like a collage of Christmas decorations. Despite this, I can forgive any ploy if the resultant product is worth it.

So is this album worth it? The answer is a resounding no.

It is ostensibly a tour through history around the world, summarising the last two millennia in preparation for the new millennium. Nice concept, but there's just not the scope in eleven pieces of music to make this journey. It's the musical equivalent of travelling around the USA in three days. We begin with 'Peace on Earth', which sounds so much like a Disneyfied Christmas tune it sets my teeth on edge. I can almost hear the sleigh bells. If you're going to conduct us on a historical tour of the world, you'd better get it right: the first Christmas didn't have anything like the feel of a twentieth century American Christmas. Then we get the horrifyingly cringeworthy chanting of 'Pacha Mama'. Points for invoking cultures other than the Western hegemony, but - and this is probably just me - it works for me like fingernails on a blackboard. And so it goes. The spoken lyrics of 'Amazing Grace' kill 'Sunlight Shining Through Clouds' stone dead. The jig of 'The Doge's Palace' ought to have been played with analogue instruments, and the tacky digital mess is sunk by the addition of operatic vocals completely out of keeping with the song. Urgh. 'Lake Constance' is nice. 'Mastermind' begins promisingly, sounding like the James Bond theme's brother, but again the spoken words do it serious injury. The nondescript 'Broad Sunlit Uplands' is replaced by 'Liberation', an 'Amarok' soundalike spoiled by OLDFIELD'S daughter. 'Amber Light', the herald of the new millenium, might also have been culled from 'Amarok', and is quite good if one can forgive the initial stilted vocals. The final track starts with the nails on the blackboard again, and in typical OLDFIELD fashion reprises the album - over a house beat. And here I was hoping its length meant he would develop an idea into a progressive track. Hah! I've not heard anything as unintentionally funny as a jig set to a house beat.

Not only does the concept not work, the resultant music sounds cheesy, formulaic and the work of a man needing a rest. Please don't consider this representative of MIKE OLDFIELD'S back catalogue. Give one of the Big Five a go (Tubular Bells, Ommadawn, Amarok, TB II or Songs of Distant Earth). Even if you don't like them, you'd be bound to acknowledge their depth. Not this one, which is as shallow as music gets.

Review by ZowieZiggy
1 stars This "Mellenium Bell" is the poorest of the list so far.

Mostly ethnic or "world" music oriented, I can't think of one single part of it which are of some interest to any fan of this great original theme. Because, it has basically nothing to do with it. The worse being achieved during "Santa Maria". Gosh!!!

While listening to "Sunlight Shining.", I have more the impression of being in the middle of the African savannah than to hear a Mike Oldfield track (same applies to "Liberation" and "Amber Light").

At best, there are some pleasant symphonic (meaning with orchestrations) parts : "Lake Constance" and "Broad Sunlit Uplands " for instance. But it is rather strange that I consider these ones as being the most bearable since I have never been into this type of combination.

The electro beats during "Mastermind" are also pretty difficult to swallow. Repetitive to the bones. Press next. The closing "The Millenium Bell" is probably the part that I dislike most. Dance music my friends. Could you believe? Don't even start to listen to this part and eject your CD before it starts. Disgusting.

I don't like this declination of "Tubular" AT ALL. IMHHO, it is totally useless. One star.

Review by The Crow
2 stars An average record... With another wrong name!

After the great Tubular Bells III, and the enjoyable and original Guitars, Oldfield came up with this diverse, incoherent conceptual album, with some great moments, and a lot of mediocre parts. The concept of the album is not bad... The desire of Oldfield was to make a musical travel through the last two millenniums of humanity's history, specially the last one... So we have a singing to mother earth (Pacha Mama), the America's discovering (Santa Marķa), the romantic period (Lake Constance), Chicago's gangster ages (Mastermind), war (Broad Sunlit Uplands)... And even some futuristic elements at the end!

The idea, reported this way, is not bad... But some songs are just improper for a worthy and respectable career like the Oldfield's one. The repetitive melody in The Dodge's Palace, the silly Mastermind, the bad implemented vocals in Sunlight Shining Through Clouds... I'd only save three of four tracks of this album. The rest is really far from the best Oldfield's moments.

The style of the album is versatile, showing some of the different Oldfield's abbilities... From the pure symphonic elements (Lake Constance, Broad Sunlit Uplands) to the electronic synthethised sounds (Mastermind, The Millennium Bell), to some ethnic moments (Pacha Mama, Liberation), new age elements (Santa Marķa, Amber Light) ... Is one of the most diverse albums Oldfield has made, both in style and quality!

Best songs: Lake Constance (the only true jewel of the album... Is like a soundtrack of a romantic film. Could be easily have the sign of Maurice Jarre or John Barry... Not really originial, but I really love this beautiful and evocative song, specially the spanish guitar part!), Broad Sunlit Uplands (like Lake Constance, is another symphonic track... More melancholic, and with a nice piano melody) and Liberation (because it reminds me to Amarok... And it has the typical Oldfield's guitar sound at the end)

Conclusion: this album has great moments, like Lake Constance and Broad Sunlit Uplands... Nevertheless, it's very irregular. Some sublime fragments are mixed up with really mediocre ones, so this album is far from the Oldfield's best. For all this, I recommend you this album only if you are an experienced Oldfield listener. If you are not, please start with another one, because The Millennium Bell is among his weakest efforts.

My rating: **1/2

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The Milennium Bell is not up to the standard of previous Tubular Bells Efforts.

There is a lot that Mike Oldfield attempts on this CD particularly the way he merges his trademark style with operatic and symphonic elements to create a huge wall of sound. But it is so overblown and pretentious at times it simply does not work in the way that previous Tubular Bells albums do.

We start with the bombastic Peace on Earth merging into the dull Pacha mama and Santa Maria. It was at this stage that I decided that I did not like this album. Mastermind and Broad sunlit uplands captured my attention in a small way as they were more progressive in style, but overall this is a mediocre album at best.

The only reall standout is The millenium bell but at over 7 minutes even this becomes a yawnfest.

Whatever Oldfield was attempting here it fails on almost every level. A disappointing effort and one to avoid unless you are a completist.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One more Mike Oldfield album with "Bell .." name on the cover. No too much relations with real Tubular Bells in album's music however.

Mike Oldfield knows how to play some kind of music, I even think he is doing it quite well. The problem is, having invited formula, he just uses it again and again,in a safe way, without searching something new or even little experimentation.

This album just confirms it. Few Celtic folk motives, a bit a world music, symphonic orchestra, some classic voices. All mixed in slow or mid tempo pleasant sound, comfortable enough, but all the time you have the impression that you heard these songs so many times before!

This album will give you absolutely nothing new , but if you like usual Oldfield works from 90-s, you will easily will listen this album as well.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I'd rather start from the bottom, maybe the very bottom of Mike's catalogue, and work my way up towards his prime albums. If I did it in an opposite direction, I'd never find motivation to write on The Millenium Bell. Honestly, the album cover says it all. Collage of planets, spheres, blo ... (read more)

Report this review (#1942694) | Posted by thief | Monday, July 2, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars After two excellent albums (TB3 and Guitars), Oldfield came back with yet another "Tubular Bells" album. This one, I really don't consider a TB album, so I tend to say my favorite TB work is TB2, and my favorite "Bell" work is The Millennium Bell. Although it's definitely not as complex as earli ... (read more)

Report this review (#138783) | Posted by Nao/Gilles | Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is one of the worst records I“ve ever heard ever, and of course, the worst by the superb Mike Oldfield. It“s worst than Heaven“s Open (what an awful record!!). I think he is losing ideas, so he“s repeating himself with Tubular things. Don“t buy this, it“s a recording only made to make money.I ... (read more)

Report this review (#28499) | Posted by | Saturday, March 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MIKE OLDFIELD "The Millenium Bell"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.