Jayce Lewis – Million Part 1 (2017)
Album number three from Jayce Lewis sees the artist revert back to his own name following legal proceedings with Universal Music Group that have led to the retirement of the Protafield moniker. The artist’s meteoric rise to fame in India and Asia has yet to be reflected in the western world. However, high-profile tours with Gary Numan and now new album Million, are set to possibly change that. His breakthrough track Icon from 2009, which topped the charts Far East, saw Lewis play stadiums to 40,000 people in India. He went on to tour with Gary Numan in 2011 after the release of his debut album in 2010. The follow-up album from 2014, released under the Protafield moniker, featured Queen drummer Roger Taylor guesting, and spawned the club tracks God-Forced and Severe Sever, both receiving widespread critical acclaim at the time.
Million was produced in Jayce’s own studio, Northstone Studios in Bridgend, South Wales, a reclaimed monastery that he personally restored himself in 2016. There’s a definite step up in production value when compared to the previous two albums, maybe it’s that the Protafield album was recorded in three different studios, but Million feels more cohesive and consistent. The album is overall more electronic sounding with pristine production that certainly sees Lewis at his most prolific in his career thus far. Stunning beats and perfect synth choices make this album sound absolutely immaculate. Vocally, this is typical Jayce Lewis, which is a great thing. He has the persona, charisma and most importantly the vocal range, to be a magnetic frontman, centre stage.
Opening the album is an atmospheric, synth laden, sci-fi intro that leads succinctly into the pounding “OrderArt”. This is Jayce Lewis returning with a message, returning with a rabid insistence. A vitriolic track. We got a first taste of Million with single “Shields”, a sublime groove driven industrial tune with Lewis’s trademark soaring melodic vocal. “Line Integral” feels a little more organic next to its predecessor, title track “Million”; it’s a more emotive industrial-rock track that tones down the aggression and replaces it with a beautiful harmonic dissonance, and some incredible distorted sound design about a third into the song. Great stuff. The album closes with “We Are One”, featuring guest guitar and synth work from Queen god Brian May. An energetic electro-rock track that leaves you eagerly awaiting Million Part 2 whilst also realising that this album has ended way too soon. At 7 tracks and 30 minutes in length, an extra track or two would have been nice.
Million Part 1 seems like the strongest Jayce Lewis to date largely because it’s by far his most consistent work. Previous albums have similarly great tracks, but were often hampered by slow-mid tempo lethargic songs that added little to the package. The new album avoids that pitfall with a seething energy and looks to the future through the dystopian eyes of its mastermind Jayce Lewis. Recommended listening.