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Rawer and heavier than ever before - 93%

KronosMPH, September 29th, 2010

Stumbling across Millenium was interesting— rather than me trying to recommend hard rock and metal bands for my father to listen to, he discovered this one first. Much of the band's earlier material is just a notch heavier than hard rock and sounds very commercial (which actually makes it a shame that this is such an obscure band), and while the trend persists here, the band's fourth studio effort features a considerably heavier sound: thicker, crunchier guitars and bass; and slightly deeper, more powerful vocals by the newly-returned Todd Plant.

The resulting album sounded more power metal-friendly than previous releases, and songs such as "Heaven Awaits," "Above This World" and "Enemy Of The Sun" reflect this as the fastest songs in the band's catalog (even though that really isn't saying much). Jericho also has nice acoustic guitar sections worked into songs such as "Heresy," but the general thicker electric guitar/bass sound works surprisingly well with Todd Plant's vocals. As stated before, they are now deeper than on the first two albums, probably due to natural aging (in the same way that, say, James Hetfield of Metallica sounds different from Kill 'Em All to ...And Justice For All), and seem to have a slightly raspy quality to them in some parts to suit the music. There are still sections with rather high notes as well, but in good taste.

Each song flows very nicely into the next; there are no seamless transitions in the strictest sense, but the acousting ending to "Heresy" works well when met with the heavy initial riff of "Morning Star" a fraction of a second later. The only throwaway track might be "Enemy Of The Sun," if only because it sounds a little too similar to the song immediately before it, but for the most part the album alternates raw and slow with powerful and fast. Jericho ends on an all-time high for the band with "Burning Again," and like the final tracks on Angelfire and Hourglass (along with "Anybody," the last non-demo track on the compilation), the song has a vaguely otherworldly quality to it. It includes small portions of acoustic guitar and keyboards in good taste rather than used to an excess and marches along at an almost doom-like pace. The song doesn't vary much over its 6 ½ minutes, but its longer instrumental parts are a major focus point, and work with the tragic-sounding riffs and vocals to make "Burning Again" as memorable as it is.

Overall, I was impressed that the same band which released the poppy Angelfire and Hourglass transitioned into something less over-the-top and more metallic. This album is a great listen for fans of hard rock, melodic metal, power metal or even metal in general— out of the earlier albums I'd have to call the self-titled début my favorite, but Jericho tops even that quite easily.