A Symphonic Power Metal band…from Sweden…on Nuclear Blast…called Majestica? And right now the readership has split straight into two camps – the first who read that and went “Oh bloody hell, I know exactly what THAT will be like” and have already stopped reading, and then there are those of us in that remaining second camp who immediately thought “I really hope this will be what I think it is!”. This review is for you, so why not stay a while and bask…
So, more appetite whetting then when I tell you that this is a continuation of Sabaton guitarist Tommy Johansson’s ReinXeed side project, resplendent with a new moniker and a newly focused musical vision to go with their shiny new Nuclear Blast deal. So what are we all hoping for? Well personally with a build up like that I want pounding, galloping Power Metal, soaring Symphonia, fantasy lyrics, massive choruses, bombasity, epic-ness…hell, I want it to be majestic(a)! And if that was also your wish, you will not be disappointed.
Tommy’s vocals are absolutely excellent, more than a match for his fabulous guitar-work and the rest of his band mates are suitably up to the task, delivering each song with the energy and conviction you would wish them to. I particularly like the head-down double-kick frenzy of tracks like opener ‘Above The Sky’ and ‘The Way To Redemption’, when the band absolutely ooze Lost Horizon. This style blends effortlessly on other tracks that incorporate classic Helloween, Stratovarius, Freedom Call, Sonata Arctica and yes, of course, just the occasional smattering of Sabaton. There is an epic seven and a half minute closing track that also ticks all the boxes it needs to, and dragons even get mentioned in ‘Motley True’ (yep, that’s the title!) which can only add to things surely?
No complaints then? Well…OK, you have to be prepared for that slight cheezy-ness of lyric and chorus that will undoubtedly crop up at times (I’m especially looking at you ‘The Legend’…) and if I’m honest, the sub-AOR of ‘Night Call Girl’ is a step way too far and doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album (thankfully), but what is a skip button for if not to launch you straight back into what is almost a testament to Power Metal history over the last 30 years! I mean, look at ‘Father Time’ – it feels like it’s straight off Helloween’s “Pink Bubbles Go Ape” in attitude, delivered by Sonata Arctica, jamming with Stratovarius, Edguy…and Sparks and Queen…and it’s even got a can-can bit! Is it my favourite song? Nah…not exactly, but did I enjoy it? Ha-ha. Well why not eh? This is Metal that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s delivered with great talent and expert musician-ship, but it’s also about optimism and escapism, with a lasting feeling of uplifting attitude and positive outlook. There’s enough misery in the world, so why not enjoy a bit of fun when it comes your way once in a while?
(8/10 Andy Barker)