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Millstone – Isle

by Matt Bozenda at 30 April 2021, 6:46 AM

“Prisoners Of Power”, published in English as “The Inhabited Island”, is the story of amateur cosmonaut Maxim Kammerer as he is marooned on the strange alien world of Saraksh. Finding the nation where he landed to be an authoritarian hellscape, he endeavors to free the citizens from the drug-like propaganda frequency which is transmitted to them. Though successful, the short term consequences are revealed to be dire. It’s a masterpiece of Soviet science-fiction from the legendary Strugatsky Brothers and a worthy read by Metal Temple’s literati.

The book also serves as the foundation for "Isle", the conceptual debut album by MILLSTONE. Though the band prefers not to consign themselves to genre, their introduction suggests influences ranging from WHITE ZOMBIE to LAMB OF GOD. Inasmuch, the listener is treated to a modern era Metal feast of Thrash and Groove with the occasional peppering of Prog.

That’s given credence right off the bat with "Patres Ignotum", which despite its name is very clear about where it has come from. It also happens to be the album’s longest track at just over four-and-a-half minutes. The next song, "Promised Land", carries on in much the same fashion as the first, not straying in any serious way.

"Turned Inside Out" then turns the Groove way up, being possibly the grooviest Metal since INFECTIOUS GROOVES. That level of Groove is somehow sustained and given equal Thrash treatment for "Everything Is As It Should Be". "The Dark Tower" lives up to the name right at the intro, and then seems to hark back to the grandiose of 80’s era OZZY at times.

Due for release as the single and probably not after much debate within the band, "Zombieland" was just about tailor-made for Metal radio and for an accompanying video, and is a fine showcase for the band’s talents. "One-Way Ticket" then picks up roughly where "Promised Land" left off, and that sound goes on with "The War Of Fools". "Progressor" indeed dabbles in Prog before returning more to Groove in the second half, ending the album on a fizzling fade.

Featuring nine tracks at just over half an hour in the end, "Isle" is a worthy introduction from MILLSTONE. It isn’t an explosive, game changing album by any means, but for a new band trying to make their mark, this is an excellent effort. They really give it that Siberian action, to paraphrase Paulie Walnuts; there’s a hard surety beneath the sound, a confidence about the band you can hear in each note.

Despite that, there is a familiarity to them, a radio-friendliness which could turn off the snobs who don’t care for broad appeals. They’re not afraid to experiment though, and never mind their flaws, MILLSTONE has the talent for greatness. "Isle" may have been grown from a kernel of Soviet era futility-themed literature, but this band’s outlook is anything but bleak.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Patres Ignotum
2. Promised Land
3. Turned Inside Out
4. Everything Is As It Should Be
5. The Dark Tower
6. Zombieland
7. One-Way Ticket
8. The War Of Fools
9. Progressor
Yan Nikov – Vocals
Ivan Scherbakov – Guitars
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions


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Edited 06 December 2022

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