MILLENNIAL REIGN – “Persistence Is Everything”
June 25, 2018, a year ago
Texas melodic power metal act Millennial Reign is back with their third album, The Great Divide, released in May by Ulterium Records. An album that should definitely be on the radar of any power metal fan, founder Dave Harvey took some time to answer questions about the band’s lineup changes and the making of The Great Divide.
BraveWords: The Great Divide features three new musicians into the fold. How difficult was it bringing new members into the band?
Dave Harvey: “The guys who were around on the Carry The Fire lineup were also members of a local metal band here in the Dallas area, which was their first priority. After we finished the tour with Stryper and a couple more shows opening for national acts, they decided they wanted to focus more on the local band they had and dropped out of MR. I knew exactly who I wanted for the band so I contacted Steve Nichols (drums) and Neil Bertrand (bass) to come on board. They were both interested and it's been a very good run since they joined. A few months later, James' construction business was taking up all his time. He decided he needed to focus primarily on his business so we discussed it and approached Travis Wills for vocals. I had about 90% of the new album music written so he began writing lyrics and recording demos to the music I sent him.”
BraveWords: Travis Willis possesses such a strong voice – how did you find him?
Dave Harvey: “I’ve known Travis ever since I moved to the DFW area back in 2007. I was playing in Phantom-X at the time and he was in a local cover band. Not to mention, by chance, I moved into his neighborhood back around October 2012 so we are literally neighbors. He just lives a couple houses up the road from me. We had done some fill in work with each other but this is the first long running project we’ve done together.”
BraveWords: Why title the new album The Great Divide? Was there any other titles in the running?
Dave Harvey: “Actually it was a tossup between that and Break The Tide. After much consideration, we felt The Great Divide offered a much better mental image, so we went with that.”
BraveWords: The artwork reminds me of a scene coming out of Lord Of The Rings. Please explain where the artwork came from.
Dave Harvey: “Jan Yrlund from Darkgrove.net was the artist that came up with the concept and he did a phenomenal job. The Great Divide is what separates us from loved ones that have passed on before us. We couldn’t have asked for better artwork and it seems to be very popular with the fans as well.”
BraveWords: Any particular track or tracks that stand out to you? “The Day The Sun Stood Still” is one of my favorites.
Dave Harvey: “If I had to choose, I guess it’d be ‘Break The Tide’. That song came together really well and has a nice flow to it. Next would probably be ‘Till The End’. I think it has a good flow to it as well. It’s always a little harder to choose between your own songs as opposed to another band.”
BraveWords: Were all the songs written before Willis entered the band or after? Did you have to alter the way you wrote because of how he sang?
Dave Harvey: “About 90% of the album was already written before he came in so I was able to send him songs as I finished up the music. We tweaked a few choruses here and there to match what he wrote for the verses but otherwise, things didn’t change much.”
BraveWords: I sense of a theme of overcoming obstacles and trying to be the best you can be with the lyrics. Would you say there is a particular theme to the The Great Divide?
Dave Harvey: “I can’t say it was all planned that way but yes, I believe there is. We all strive to be better, no matter what the situation. I could even go as far as to say we had a lot of obstacles before releasing this album. Persistence is everything...”
BraveWords: Listening to you guys, I’d never guess you’d be from Texas, I easily would have suspected Sweden or Germany. So what was the inspiration to become a melodic power metal band?
Dave Harvey: “Thank you, I definitely view that as a compliment. Back in the ‘90s, the US music industry threw talent completely out the window for bands that could barely play their instruments or sing. When I finally acquired internet, I discovered Europe didn’t follow the same direction the US went. True traditional power metal was still the mainstream there. Needless to say after discovering bands like Edguy, Avantasia and Masterplan I focused my sights on the European industry and never looked back. I’m very thankful they didn’t follow the alternative grunge scene there.”
BraveWords: Do you feel like Christian metal or bands with Christian based lyrics are too easily dismissed by the metal community?
Dave Harvey: “In some cases I’m sure that’s true. In our case, we’re just four believers in a band. Of course, our faith tends to come out in the lyrics but that’s true no matter what your belief. Life experiences naturally come out in the music. We’ve supported several bands that are mainstream like HammerFall, Sonata Arctica, Delain, Omen and Joe Lynn Turner. We will book any situation that fits the melodic power metal genre.”
BraveWords: For people that have never heard Millennial Reign before, how would you guys differ from other bands? What makes Millennial Reign unique?
Dave Harvey: “That’s hard to say. We definitely are a power metal band but our sound tends to be more melodic and anthemic. I just write what comes naturally and I was heavily influenced by ‘80s metal. I’m sure that stands out to the listener as well.”
BraveWords: What’s in store in the future? Touring?
Dave Harvey: “Yes, that’s always the goal. Especially a few European dates would be nice. We have yet to be invited but hopefully with the release of this album, that will change.”