The Sin is the sixteenth release from established Polish crossover rock quintet Millenium consisting as they describe it of seven tracks that describe government politicians, proud celebrities, greedy crooks, jealous lovers, lazy people, full scope of addictions and hatred for others!
So a pretty straightforward concept, the seven deadly sins and with Millenium you pretty much know what you are going to get. Well-structured concepts, good production, excellent all round playing, stadium friendly rock with some big ideas though nothing to scare the horses. I don't mean that unkindly, just that on the whole they stay on the safer side of things. This release sees the group clearly having some fun with the concept, and makes for one of the most enjoyable of their recent releases. Pride starts with some lovely atmospherics which fans of Richard Barbieri's analogue synth work will appreciate, soaring guitar takes into Lucasz Gall's hearfelt vocals and Millenium are quickly into their stride, sounding as good as anything I have heard from them lately. Lust slams in like a flying brick wall, taking the sin in its broadest sense with its tale of a crooked politician grasping at power and all that comes with it. Pink Floyd-like keyboards take things at full flow, swelling with insatiability. Wrath is surprisingly reflective and actually un-wrathful, reflective and measured in its dissection of the primal forces undermining essential humanity. Piotr Plonka puts in a suitably blistering turn, one of many from this fine performer, playing off Ryszard Kramarski's ethereal keyboards. Gluttony together with its partner Greed are the two shortest tracks, though I shall avoid the trap of demanding more at this point. In this case the former concentrates on a form of alcoholic incontinence and the band are clearly having fun with the character “Bring me my vodka and gin!!” indeed. Thumping bass and growling guitar greasier than a kebab drip tray underpin the sleaze. Sloth by comparison is all air and space, piano and acoustic guitars pull off the trick of drawing out the aimlessness of the subject without being aimless in themselves, sketching laziness without being idle. The central keyboard solo is an exquisite float downstream on a summer's day. Being killed by time, too apathetic to kill time is a witty concept. Greed is perhaps the one track that is a bit plodding and maybe excusably so given the unedifying subject matter the band do well to concentrate on the unsavoury outcomes and move on. Which brings us to the final and longest track; Envy. This is the most predictable and literal treatment of the seven, an extended ballad of lost love which doesn't end well is given a suitably wistful treatment, but ends the set on an undeserved low ebb, despite the passion at its core. Fortunately, another screaming guitar solo is never far away to save an otherwise plodding track, which ends with the sound of a cell door slamming vehemently shut. Make of that what you will.
This is one of Millenium's most accomplished recent releases. The band are all in excellent form, creative and clearly enjoying exploring the concept. While nearly every track is great of its kind, there is still a tendency towards an overall monochrome effect, but this is a minor quibble, especially on this form. This would certainly be the release I personally would recommend to anyone who has not heard them before. The concept is a good one and it is well executed, and imaginative.
***+ Andrew Cottrell
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