The Millennium Trilogy Project
- Act 1: The Trial

(CD 2020, 61:32, Snakebite Records)

The tracks:
  1- Why Me ?(1:24)
  2- Falling Down(5:13)
  3- Atrocity(6:15)
  4- Catch Me(2:53)
  5- Relax(3:36)
  6- Close Your Eyes(7:21)
  7- Inside Of You(5:42)
  8- Ashes Of My Heart(10:58)
  9- Keep On Dreaming(4:34)
10- Theater Of Thoughts(5:45)
11- My Guide(7:42)

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This is the first progressive concept album of The Millennium Trilogy Project, which is in fact musician and composer John van Heugten (ex-Ricocher). On 2nd October we saw the release of the first single of this album called Theater Of Thoughts and that one really sounded great, so I was very curious and enthusiastic about the rest of the album called The Trial.

It contains eleven songs, divided into five scenes (The Trial, Family Business, Imprisonment, The Verdict, The Future) and the music/sound really reminds me of Ayreon, meaning: symphonic, bombastic, progressive rock with a touch of AOR. Why Me? is the orchestral intro followed by the rocky Falling Down, which sets the scene for the rest of the album; lots of melody, excellent hooks and riffs and lots of (in my humble opinion too much) singing. Most vocals are performed by Nicole Verstappen, the main character of this concept album, being Brynn. Next up, Atrocity, is one of my favourites, filled with great guitar parts and an excellent solo by John Rovers. However, after a couple of excellent songs the musical level decreases as the tracks sound too much alike after a while. Relax is a rather run of the mill track, just like the boring piano/power ballad Keep On Dancing. But van Heugten saves the day with the absolute highlights of this album, being: Inside Of You, Ashes Of My Heart (epic track with an addictive riff and superb vocals by Verstappen) and the already known Theater Of Thoughts, a diverse “heavy” prog rock song of which I cannot get enough. Sadly, The Trial ends with the tiresome song My Guide, a rather dull piano/vocal ballad with saxophone solos; not really my cup of tea.....

So, The Trial features a couple of great tracks but also a couple of mediocre songs and even two fillers, but overall I would really recommend this album to lovers of melodic prog rock and AOR, and yes if you like Ayreon, then you will also enjoy The Millennium Trilogy Project. My advice listen to The Trial with headphones because then the experience is far better. Listening tips: Atrocity and Close Your Eyes!

***+ Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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