What else can we say about Millennial Reign that we haven’t said before? From our review of the groups 2012 self-titled debut: “The group presents with a heavily eighties influenced sound to create a project characterized by its consistency, continuity and professionalism.” From the review of the Millennial Reign fall of 2015 Ulterium Records sophomore release Carry The Fire: “Millennial Reign takes its songwriting to the next level on Carry The Fire, with the more pronounced and engaging at once chorus hooks and melodies prevalent throughout.” Angelic Warlord had the recent opportunity to interview Millennial Reign guitarist Dave Harvey, who goes into detail about the soon to be released Carry The Fire (October 30, 2015), the groups beginnings, deal with Ulterium and future plans as well.
I would like to start by discussing the background of Millennial Reign. When did you develop the vision for Millennial Reign? And what inspired you to start the band?
Millennial Reign started out as a recording project only. About half of the first album were songs that I and the drummer (Bryan Diffee) from a previous band decided to record. I wrote a few more to fill up the album and recruited a vocalist (Trae Doss) to write lyrics for the remaining songs and record vocals. Once I had written songs for the second album the first two guys were not available to record, so I recruited another singer and drummer. But as we were recording, conversation led to making this into a live band. We recruited another guitarist and bass player as things went along and had everyone we needed before the album was finished. We just played our debut show last weekend on September 26th.
What is the meaning behind the Millennial Reign name?
Millennial Reign is actually a Biblical term from the Book of Revelation. It refers to the thousand-year reign of Christ after the tribulation. I heard the term many years ago and I always thought it sounded like a powe rmetal band name. It was the name I decided to use when I released the first album, even though it was more classic 80s metal.
What led to Millennial Reign signing with Ulterium Records?
I had actually discovered Ulterium Records several years back. I was listening to bands like Audiovision, Innerwish and Theocracy at the time. I researched the label they were all on and knew then that I would eventually be submitting to Ulterium. After James and I began recording the album, I submitted to 10 different labels that I felt we fit the genre. Although, Ulterium is the one I really had my eyes on because I felt we fit the most. They responded and it has been by far the best working relationship I have ever had with a label.
How would you describe Millennial Reign musically? And why did the group choose to pursue such a musical direction?
After the 80s were over there was a huge void musically here in the states. The alternative grunge scene taking over really was the death of talented musicians. The internet coming along really opened the world up for music. I started researching what was going on in Europe and other countries and traditional power metal was the mainstream. I began ordering CD’s from bands like Edguy, Masterplan, Avantasia etc and a whole new attitude was born in me. I really related to the style and knew at that time that was the direction I wanted to go from there.
There have been quite a few changes in the Millennial Reign line up since the release of the group’s self-titled debut from 2012. Specifically, I would like to know more about how new vocalist James Guest got involved with Millennial Reign. Why was he selected to front the group?
Well, as I said earlier, this was specifically a recording project to begin with. After writing the majority of the second albums music, and Trae wasn't available anyway, I knew I needed someone with the right voice to fit the music. I placed ads searching for a power metal vocalist and James replied after a couple weeks of running it. We talked for a while and then I sent him a song to write and record lyrics too. I knew as soon as I heard what he came up with, he was the guy and that song is now called “Save Me” on the album.
Millennial Reign recently released its second album, Carry The Fire. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a bit more about Carry The Fire, specifically the writing and recording process.
Most of the songs were written before James and I got together. We live about an hour and a half drive from each other so I would send him rough mixed songs via Dropbox. Once he finished writing and recording all the vocal tracks he would send them back to me. Once all the songs were finished recording we took it all to Nomad Studio, where it was mixed by JT Longoria and mastered by Gary Long.
What are your feelings about Carry The Fire? Are you happy with the way the album turned out? And how has the response been so far?
This album was a huge learning experience for me. I've always recorded albums using other studio engineers and I decided to take on the recording of this one myself. I took the plunge, bought pro tools 11 and sank myself into a lot of tutorial videos. Ty Sims, (Recovery Room Studio) who I recorded the first album with, also gave me a lot of instruction tips. Even during the mix down process, JT Longoria (Nomad Studio) was gracious enough to teach me things as we went along. So all in all I feel it came out pretty well for my first shot as a recording engineer. The next one should be even better.
All the reviews so far have been good. One from Germany even mentioned good production. The release on October 30th should tell the rest.
What is the meaning behind the title Carry The Fire?
Carry the fire is actually a lyric line from the opening track “Forever Changed”. Everyone has a fire burning inside for one thing or another. Some people feel driven to accomplish certain things. Whatever that may be, Carry The Fire...
What are some of your favorite songs off Carry The Fire?
I think “Way Up High” is the one that speaks to me most. It's just straight forward driving power metal and that's what I really gravitate to. I also like “Forever Changed”... I really like the gallop songs, which Iron Maiden is most known for.
What is in the future for Millennial Reign? Have you started work on the third album? And when do you anticipate it being released?
We have one show a month booked through the end of the year mainly to get used to being on stage together. After the new year, we hope to do some shows with our label mates Theocracy and ultimately hit some fests in Europe. Yes, I've already started writing for the next album. Since we have a full band now, I'll be presenting them later for full band collaboration. Hopefully we'll be able to release another one by the end of 2016.
What bands are you involved in outside of Millennial Reign? Specifically, I would like to know more about your time in ASKA. What led you to join ASKA? How does ASKA compare musically to Millennial Reign?
Most people are unaware that I was a bass player long before taking on full time guitar. I mainly just wrote music or played guitar in side projects. Steve Harris has always been my biggest influence with his right hand technique. After playing guitar as long as I have, it takes quite a bit to interest me on bass now. A little over 4 years ago, when I learned that ASKA's long time bassist had left the band I contacted George Call and asked if they already had someone to replace him or would they be auditioning. He said they were auditioning so I told him I was interested. I learned the material and went to the audition... they must have liked what they heard because I had the job after the first rehearsal.
Musically ASKA is probably a little more aggressive than MR but I'm also huge on melodic metal so I get the best of both worlds playing in both bands.
I would like to close by thanking you for honoring Angelic Warlord with this interview. Do you have any last words you would like to offer our readers?
Thank you for the opportunity and I appreciate what you do. It's people like you who "Carry The Fire" that really help get the music to the fans... you see what I did there? LOL