"Hourglass" (Frontiers Records/Now & Then Productions; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As AOR goes, "Hourglass" is a fair success. Each of the ten songs on this CD are the kind of majestic yet very commercial rock that Journey made so popular back in their heyday. 

The problem with "Hourglass" is that nothing here seems to have any soul or emotion. The songs are dry and bland, offering a briefly entertaining listen that vanishes from your memory as each track fades away. Songs like "Superstar" and "Rocket Ride" are so slick and over-produced they almost sound like something from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical like "Starlight Express." There's nothing wrong with that - Webber, obviously, does some fine work. But this is a rock'n'roll album and, despite the undeniable talent of those involved here, "Hourglass" just doesn't have enough "rock" to it.

Fans of the most radio-friendly AOR music will probably find plenty to like about "Hourglass." Those looking for a little more kick should pick up an old Axe album instead.

Millenium: Jorn Lande - lead and backing vocals; Ralph Santolla - lead guitar and keyboards; Shane French - lead and rhythm guitar; Manfred Binder - bass guitar; Oliver Hanson - drums and percussion. Also appearing are Don Airey, Dag Stokke, Howard Helm and Tracy LaBarbera.

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"Angelfire" (Frontiers Records/Now & Then Productions; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Millenium are a British power metal quintet that emphasize melody over sustained heaviness. "Angelfire" is a decent, well-played effort.

Millenium incorporate a great amount of Scandinavian mid-80s melodic flavor and some '90s progressive elements into the songs of "Angelfire." Millenium's progressive competency is revealed in the songs' arrangements rather than in the musician's skills. The resultant mix is somewhat challenging without losing melodic focus. The critical element is the vocals - the vocals are much like Joe Lynn Turner; in fact, I had to choose one song to characterize "Angelfire" I'd have to choose "Heaven Tonight" from Joel Lynn Turner-era Yngwie J. Malmsteen (the "Odyssey" disc from 1988 in case you're wondering).

Hard hitting tracks "Beyond The Pain," "Run," "Hide Behind My Face," and "The Color Of Night" are worthwhile metal jaunts. Progressive elements make strong appearances on "Saving Grace" and "Bound For Glory."

Overall, "Angelfire" is a pretty good disc - it's very polished, controlled, and easy to listen to. "Angelfire" is remarkably consistent from beginning to end; however, "Angelfire" lacks the kick that really gets my heart racing and excited about heavy metal music. 

"Angelfire" was produced by Ralph Santolla and Oliver Hanson. The mix may be the best thing about the production; every instrument, vocal line, background vocal is perfectly balanced for each song. 

Millenium is J. Todd Plant on vocals, Ralph Santolla on guitars and keyboards, Shane French on rhythm guitar, Manfred Binder on bass, and Oliver Hanson on drums and percussion. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:59:46 -0400.