From page 70 of Classic Rock Magazine February 2000
'The Millennium Bell' iwEA advance CD)
***** A cynic may suggest that in order to shift sufficient quantities of albums, Mike Oldfield needs to tag them with some kind of 'Bell' trademark, and they may have a point, One doubts whether the likes of 'Heaven's Open' or'Earth Moving' shifted in similar quantities as any of the 'Tubular Bells' series. Now, with a new century upon us, he unleashes 'The Millennium Bell'and why not? Everyone else seems to getting in on the Y2K act.
Billed as"a musical celebration of the last 2000 years'The Millennium Bell' is a diverse collection of 11 pieces that meld together to form a singularly themed work which he will perform live on New Year's Eve. As with most things with Oldfield it is ambitious, of its own sound and more than just a little out there. The seasonal, hymnal feel of 'Peace On Earth'gives way to the tribal sound of the Inca-inspired 'Pacha Mama' while both 'Santa Maria' and 'Sunlight Shining Through Cloud' blend stunning female vocals with a moodier feel. Oldfield's own trademark guitar cuts through 'Mastermind' to startling effect;'Lake Constance' is a totally orchestral experience; and with 'Liberation; and a more modern hymn in 'The Amber Light; he brings things through to the modern age, before, somewhat typically, the album heats up to a rousing climax with the dance-inspired title track. That it takes in sweeping orchestration, pulsating dance beats and scything guitar is a testament to Oldfield's obvious genius, yet there remains the overall feeling that as with so much of Oldfield's output the adroitness of his work is often likely to pass people by. Fans will, of course, lap it up, but much like its creator, it sometimes feels just a little too detached.