After the release of the live albums Back After Years released both on CD and DVD (2010, see reviews), the Polish band Millenium released a new album entitled White Crow. However, it's not a brand-new album with recently written material. You'll find new stuff on their next album Puzzles that will soon be reviewed on our website. Keyboard player Ryszard Kramarski was so kind as to tell me a bit more about White Crow. He mentioned three important reasons for releasing this unique album. First: in 2010 Millenium celebrated their tenth anniversary and this event would make this album and fine present for their fans. Second: the two older albums 7 Years and Three Brother's Epilogue are sold out and will never be re-released. These albums contained a few interesting songs and together with other rarities they would make White Crow a brand-new album. Third: with this album Millenium closes a chapter in its musical history.
On White Crow you'll find some rarities recorded from 2003 until 2010 taken from different compilation albums, promotional singles and maxi-singles, as well as previously unreleased songs and mixes. You can also enjoy the title track which was specially written for this album. All tracks have been recorded by the current line-up: Łukasz Gall (vocals), Piotr Płonka (guitars), Krzysztof Wyrwa (bass), Tomasz Paśko (drums) and Ryszard Kramarski (keyboards).
The album opens with the title track that contains an amazing guitar solo. It's followed by the mellow piece Monotony taken from the Demon- EP which was released as a promo in 2005. Next is Plastic World taken from the Déjà Vu-sessions (2004). This version has been recorded with drums, bass and guitars and has now been released on CD for the first time. This ballad also features an amazing guitar solo. Born To Hate hails from the Demon-EP either; it's a rather mellow piece as well on which you can enjoy fantastic synthesizer and great guitar solos. I'm Still Burning has been taken from the promo-EP Numbers (2006). On this piece the keyboards have a more prominent role. However, the guitars provide this up-tempo song with a rather aggressive touch. It's followed by the title track from the double album 7 Years (2007). On this fine ballad the cello on the intro and outro sounds beautifully, but again the synths steal the show. The guitar solo at the end is also remarkably strong.
I Would Like To Say Something has been derived from a compilation of the well-known Polish MLWZ prog radio show (2009). You could already enjoy a live version of this strong neo-prog tune on the aforementioned live releases with again some fantastic synthesizer and guitar parts. Where's My Way? has been originally released on the Déjà Vu- sessions and now appears on CD for the first time. The fine guitar solo on this tune just makes the difference. Next is the short track Sky taken from the promo-EP Silent Hill (2003/2004), a nice ballad performed on the acoustic guitar with strong vocals by guest vocalist Sabine Godula ; she forms a nice musical couple with Lukasz Gall. The fifteen-minute track Epilogue, originally released in 2008, has been taken from the deleted album Three Brothers Epilogue. The song starts with an intro on keyboards that reminded me of Stand Up by Final Conflict. This fine sequencer rhythm returns several times in this epic piece. The vocals sound sometimes distorted, while the guitars and the synthesizers do their utmost to keep the song interesting by providing strong solos. This piece is very much influenced by the music of Pink Floyd. The CD ends with a bonus track, a fine rock version of Silent Night that was already available in 2009 on the compilation album Progressive Rock Christmas. It seems as if David Gilmour himself is playing a guitar solo over the nice rhythms of a drum machine and a real drummer, but especially the fantastic synthesizer solo provides this song with a progressive rock flavour. A child sings in Polish the vocal lines which end the song in a traditional way.
With White Crow, Millenium proved that compilation albums or 'best of' releases can be very interesting for a lot of prog heads. As long as bands include previously unreleased versions and deleted material that is adventurous and worthwhile listening, you can be sure that these songs will be picked up. By giving it a relatively high rating for a compilation album, I can only be positive about this release. White Crow is recommended to all fans of neo-progressive rock in general and for Pink Floyd devotees in particular.
***+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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