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Tone Bearer — Millennium
(Fookstick no#, 1999, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2000-05-01

Millennium Cover artTone Bearer is a San Jose six-piece cut squarely from the Marillion and Pendragon mold of neo-prog. The lineup is your standard 5-piece with an additional percussionist and the vocalist doubling on guitars. Bassist Mike Underwood's name is all over the packaging and his twangy bass is extremely high in the mix. So much so that I would guess that he's the driving force in the group. With that much instrumentation, you'd expect a lot more than what the songs here actually deliver. Part of the problem may be an extremely thin and B-grade production job, but I have to suspect that it's mostly due to inexperience in the studio as well as with arranging. The eight tracks on Millennium cling to well-trodden musical pathways with little in the way of innovation or originality though an undeniable sheer determination manages to pound the material through somewhat. The group churns along throughout the disc, only coming into focus on the track "The Rite," which displays a toughness and spit that suits this ensemble best. Overall, Millennium is not a bad first effort though there's little here to distinguish this group from many before them. A little maturity and experience should help them to rise above the mediocre.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 19, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Tone Bearer

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