Review: M.ILL.ION – Back On Track
AOR Heaven (September 10th 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
M.ILL.ION return with a new album, their first since ‘Sane and Insanity’ back in 2011. This time, four of the original members (including the original vocalist) have returned into the fray to release an album that contains three new tracks and re-recordings of various tracks from their first three albums that were originally released before the turn of the century.
Let’s get the new stuff out of the way first. The new tracks are excellent, so much so that it’s a little disappointing that there’s not more new material. Of the new tracks, my favorite is ‘Rising’, a hard charging rocker with some inspirational lyrics regarding overcoming odds and recent world events. The talents of all the band members shine with this track If this is what is to come from the band, then they need to start recording a full length album immediately.
Regarding the rest of the material, your ability to enjoy it will depend on your history with the band. If you have their first three albums, then I would say pass on purchasing this album and just buy the three new songs. Most of the tracks are very similar to the originals with a slightly improved production, which is in itself quite an accomplishment. These songs were originally recorded 20-30 years ago and they have managed to match the originals very closely.
That begs the question….why bother? Perhaps to reclaim the rights to the songs? To reintroduce the band to people who are not familiar with them? If you have never heard from this band or you are only familiar with their material from this century, then you will find a good collection of songs which paints an accurate picture of what this band can do.
I personally would have preferred some different tracks to cover from the first three albums. As a long time fan of the band, songs like ‘Time After Time’, ‘Wrong Side’, and ‘Step On The Brakes’ are some of my favorites from their early albums. None of those are included, but my favorite song, ‘Sign of Victory’, is featured here. Unfortunately, the re-recording is most noticeably different from the original. As great as singer Hans Dalzon currently sounds, he can’t reach the highs that this track originally required, so the band downtuned to accommodate his vocals and the song is nowhere as good as the original. As previously stated, if you never heard the original, you will certainly enjoy this version. (NOTE – Singer Hasse Johansson is listed in the current bio under the name Hans Dalzon. I do not know why).
Other great tracks included in this collection are ‘Candyman’, ‘Narrow Mind Land’, and ‘Get Down To Biz’, with its more prominent bottom end pushed to the forefront. All are shown the respect that they deserve. It is a shame that more people are not talking about this band in the same way they bring up their contemporaries. Any band that put out quality hard rock in the middle of the grunge era gets my respect. If you are not familiar with this band or their music, this is a great place to start. Now bring on the new stuff!