[ViciSolum Productions, 2019]
Intro: Dimitris Kaltsas
25 / 02 / 2019
In 2014, Human proved to be one of the most impressive alt-prog debuts of the first half of the 10s. Three years later, Sigma certified the progress of the band by raising the bar way up high and achieving a superb sound quality. The bet for this year’s Artifacts is difficult to be won, but it is the quintet of Prokopiou, Konstantinidis, Priftis, Tsamkosoglou and Bakaouris that has built these high expectations. Whether the third album of Mother of Millions will be another huge step in the evolution of their sound and not just a decent continuity depends on the band’s vision. Ultimately, the light at the end of the tunnel may be revealed through simplicity.
Three out of three and all of them special
I have been following the band’s course since its very first steps, as this is my third review of their recordings. To be honest, I find it very nice to see how a band is progressing, with which I “stuck” with its sound and style from the first second. The albums act as “stations” and so you see how you yourself have changed in time.
Back to the album now, the third full-length album by Mother of the Millions, which seems to be build on the solid bases they first built with Sigma and also develops the sound they developed there for the first time. There’s no doubt that the unchanged lineup contributes to this as the band’s character is formed collectively, as well as the fact that social circumstances (which affect the band’s lyrical concepts) are no longer as extreme as during the time of their debut. Musically, the band continues to play alt-prog, further enhancing the dimensions of arrangements in their sound. The keys here have a more prominent role and the atmosphere they create is better communicated to the listeners because of the “big” production, which is, in my opinion, the best of their career so far. I would simply describe it as cinematic, clean and powerful and this is the greatest advantage of Artifacts. The amazing thing with the musicians in Mother of Millions is their less-is-more mentality that gives space to the songs and does not overload them. I also have to admit I just loved the jazzy drumming.
The album starts with the incredible Amber, the most proggy with superb riffing and a terrific job on vocals, choir and lead. This selection grabs your attention instantly and focuses it on the album, but some of the tracks that follow did not keep me in the same mood. For example, Rite, Soma and Anchor while trying to balance between melody and rhythm, they lean more towards the melody and in combination with the somewhat melancholic vocals, create a more or less uniform effect that does not reach the album opener. Of course there are points that only Mother of Millions can write, such as the guitar solos in Soma and Anchor, the drums in Rite and the instrumental Nema! The latter is a piano composition written by Makis Tsamkosoglou that has a strong Ludovico Einaudi influence. This in itself is a huge achievement for the band, sincev they manage to experiment with different musical forms than alt-prog and create a different and pioneering result, classifying them as one of the bands that can bring a fresh breath to the genre. However, the magnum opus in Artifacts is undoubtedly Artefact, a song where the keys have a sound reminiscent of the organ and in combination with the Byzantine influenced vocals, the female Greek narration and its simple rhythm, it resembles an epic chant. This song achieves this sense of deep emotion and mental uplifting. Wonderful!
In their third album, Mother of Millions manage to deliver a very good album that loses in details to Sigma, but it is at the same high level. The most important, however, is that they have found their sound and the path they want to follow. Personally, I will follow them because I believe they will offer even better releases in the future.
8 / 10
While quality is very important, quantity and consistency is something that especially young bands also that want to keep their name in the discussion. Artifacts is the third release in five years from Mother of Millions and just as its predecessors there are only positive remarks to be made. Amber opens the album with acapella harmonic vocals and the soft guitars coming in, before everything becomes heavier and sharp. Right from the first song of the album it shows how the band has taken the time and the experience of touring and playing with bands like Leprous and Pain of Salvation.
The songs have a great balance between heaviness and melodic. The heavy progressive and mellow parts seem like they complete each other creating a beautiful puzzle. All members of the band work like a well oiled machine and it feels like there is a bit more space given to Makis Tsamkosoglou and his keyboards which provide an additional layer for the album to expand. Lastly, once again Giorgos Prokopiou shines with his performances in both the heavy parts but with also the rendering in the soft passages. Third album for Mother of Millions and as it seems the band is getting better and better!
9 / 10