TONY MILLS – Vital Design

TONY MILLS - Vital Design
  • 9.5/10
    Tony Mills - Vital Design - 9.5/10


Phoenix Records
Release date: June 17, 2008

User Review
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Many will remember Tony Mills from being long-time vocalist for one of the greatest Melodic Rock bands ever to come out of England; Shy. It’s only a couple of years ago that he joined forces with the legendary Norwegian Melodic Metal band TNT and since then he has been busy touring and writing with his new band. It is said that TNT are currently writing songs for a new album, but in between all this Tony has taken the time to write material for an entire new solo effort and bless him for that! On his new record entitled Vital Designs we find an impressive bunch of musicians helping Mills in creating one of the greatest Melodic Metal releases so far this year. Contributing on the bass guitars is Tony’s band mate from TNT Victor Borge, ex TNT bassist Morty Black and Oddvar Krogstad. In the keyboard section we have another TNT member; Dag Stokke, the legendary keyboarder Eric Ragno and Mills former band mate Joe Basketts from Shy. Behind the thundering rhythm foundation is a person that has also appeared in Mills career; Shy drummer Bob Richards. Last but definitely not least is the one that drives this album forward with his screaming guitar. His name is Neil Hibbs. This is his professional debut record which he co-wrote with Tony, no doubt about that this is a piece of work he should be really proud of. It’s not every day you’re able to hear an album like this, it’s literally a Melodic Rock explosion.

A Vital Design opens the show with screaming guitars and moody, mystical keyboards. Then Tony’s soaring vocals enters and fills you with a satisfied feeling. It’s been a long time and no see from the British World Class Singer. Since he saved the latest TNT effort The New Territory from a tragic collapse he has been writing the very new solo album which is truly a musical orgasm. The opener really proves that and you’re dragged into every single note that is tossed out of the loudspeakers. Mills literally spits words during the verse and it sounds really cool.

Guitarist Neil Hibbs shows off his great guitar abilities from the very beginning with some very great riffing but lets his talent really flow when the guitar solo comes midway in the song. The notes reaches your ears in great numbers and when he in the end sweeps like hell you can not do anything else than smile. This is definitive a forward storming guitarist which will certainly gain a lot of attention in the coming time. One of his greatest influences during the years is long-time TNT guitarist Ronni Le Tekrø. It’s quite obvious after listening to this album that Mr Hibbs does more interesting things than Tekrø nowadays. Tekrø ran out of fuel years ago only repeating what he has done for so long, almost sounding like a parody of him self. Hibbs has on the other hand the hungry attitude and fires off everything he got and even more on this album. His playing sounds interesting as he does some unforeseen things all the way.

Coming into the second song on the album “Give Me A Reason” you’re again presented to the amazing song writing skills of Mills and Hibbs. It’s a true Melodic Metal song which blasts its way forward with powerful riffs and a thundering rhythm section. It also seems that this is the definitive album for vocal harmonies right now. Tony succeeds in creating very interesting vocal arrangements all the way through and this song is no exception. It’s really a joy listening to. Tony’s outstanding voice carries the song alongside the fantastic guitar work of Neil Hibbs. Together they have created a pure dynamite-song!

It would take a whole lot of words to write about each song on this record so let’s look at only a few and keep the rest as a surprise for the hopeful listener. “Neurotic” is another Melodic Rock masterpiece, carried forward by the exceptional guitar playing by Hibbs and the chimerical voice of Tony. This one is the kind of song that could fit the place of being a single. It’s full of catchy hook-lines and melodies.

There’s nothing else to say; this album is a bomb from the beginning to the very end, there’s almost no uninteresting moments on this record. Every song is special, blasting its way with massive guitars, atmospheric keyboards and the awesome voice of the man him self; Tony Mills. On the production side we have a rough unpolished sound that fits the music perfectly. Vital Designs is one of the greatest choices of purchasing this year. Check it out!

  1. A Vital Design
  2. Give Me A Reason
  3. A Conspiracy
  4. Say It One More Time
  5. Exclusion Zone
  6. Miles From Nowhere
  7. Neurotic
  8. Action
  9. Tears In Lisbon
  10. In For The Kill
  11. God Called My Name
  12. Sunniva
  13. Glory Days

Tony Mills – Vocals
Neil Hibbs – Guitar
Joe Basketts – Keyboards
Eric Ragno – Keyboards
Dag Stokke – Keyboards
Morty Black – Bass guitars
Victor Borge – Bass guitars
Oddvar Krogstad – Bass guitars
Bob Richards – Drums


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