To be frank and honest I normally not the biggest fan of Christmas albums, as I feel they often cheesy and smell of record companies trying to make money out of a seasonal event. A lot of time they come across rushed and thin in originality. So I often do not pay much attention to them. I will be honest when this arrived on my desk I was like oh why me?! Why do they want to punish me? Don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike Christmas music, but to be honest most of it’s really rubbish. So I decided to give the Symphonic/power metaller’s Majestica the benefit of the doubt, mainly due to their linage of exceptional musical talent. Also a huge fan of Tommy, so was not about to cast him into a pit of fire for making a Christmas al
It’s a pity I did not get this during the Christmas period, as this is a nice stocking find. Look it’s not the first time a metal Christmas album has been done, and some of have been real toilet releases, besides I actually do like the few Rob Holford’s Christmas releases because quality is always stellar. 2020 saw a rapid increase of Christmas albums, possibly due to time on hand because of the pandemic. So a lot more albums to vomit over. This moves me to “A Christmas Carol” by Majestica, formerly known as ReinXeed (Changed name when signed to Nuclear Blast in 2019) which one can hear from the extent of musicianship and quality of arrangements was an ambitious project, which was not quickly mashed potatoed together to fill the stomach of the band or the label. It is filled with showmanship and quality offering a really decent Christmas power metal project. The album see’s Majestica take on the beloved holiday fable of Ebenzer Scrooge and his journey to find meaning in Christmas. In some ways this musical endeavour reminds me like those Christmas movies that actually put a real smile on your face, not the fake one from getting that horrible knitted jersey from your aunt type that she want you to immediately show off to the neighbourhood.
I think Majestica do a great job to catch the essence of the season in the their interpretation of a classic Christmas release. It’s vibrant in colour and life. Tommy Johansson I have respect for, his skill are amazing, and the quality of it shines through out. Johansson has amazing powerful vocal reach and dexterity, songs like “Ghost of Marley” and the joy filled “A Christmas Has Come” are great highlights of that on the album. This album plays off as a production, probably better suited to a stage than being relegated playing through speakers at home to really catch and soak in the spirit and intensity of which it shovels up in tractor loads.
“A Christmas Carol” is an adventurous treat of splendour and is hope filled with angelic like grace and quality that comes off like a mega production made for broad way rather than for my tiny hi-fi system set-up.
Johansson is backed by a variety of voice actors and backing vocals that help add to the quality of the mixes. From the days of ReinXeed to Majestica it has always been a standing ovation of musical respect for the man and the band as a whole from my side. Since moving to Nuclear Blast the sound of the band seems more refined and articulated with a refreshed vision. The depth and quality of songs like “A Christmas Has Come” and “Ghosts of Christmas Come shows a man with a passionate intensity for whatever he puts his hands too, offering an album that flows flawlessly from beginning to end that though filled with many characteristics and cliche’ Christmas music jingle jangles that are often found on tiresome Christmas albums that make them cheesy and indigestible, somehow here on “A Christmas Carol” they work. Respect to all the musicians on this album that help keep it moving forward in its lane without transgressing into triviality and Christmas stupidity.
The complicated pieces of compositions flow angelically into each other in a delightful and uplifting manner and with an audience drawing in quality that makes for a deeply engaging listen.
As I said this album is not without all the cheesy stuff that makes up the usual cascade of Christmas album releases that normally has me relegating an album to the dustbin before the first song. That said I think Majestica have made their release, “A Christmas Carol”, digestible through great compositional interpretations that hold well not only as a metal album but as a Christmas album too. There is passionate guitar playing and the way the story is being told from the start to the end offers a believable buy in from the band, not just something to have played in malls and clutter the radio with, but actual belief in that which they are sharing with the fans. I mean you can hear the lyrical use of long-sung worn classics but the band has made it their own through a combination of factors that rest on the casts musical strengths and thus offers a great Christmas album without the sacrifice of the musical skill of the artists involved.
In Short, “A Christmas Carol” has managed to avoid the cheesy attributes that nuke a Christmas album into stale bread offerings. Even with their inclusions of the usual Christmassy tinkly bells and stuff they have offered some seasonal magic in a Christmas album that does not suck. The musician ship is undoubtfully stand out stuff, and what you get for your money is some A grade prime cuts. Majestica show no real weakness so to speak of on this album. Believe me I would stand on my soap box and scream from the mountain tops if I found any discernible weakness in this album as I am unfortunately a ‘hater’ of sorts when it comes to Christmas albums because of the poop that gets released without any actual conviction of the content being played.
“A Christmas Carol” is a very alluring and inviting album that displays the sheer strength and ability behind the force of the project which has been named Majestica, and what they tell, they do in flawless execution that brings two genres together in a quality rendition of a Christmas release. This album has the strength to be listened too beyond the lights and cheesy musical offerings and bad jerseys of Christmas. Have a listen and enjoy.
My Rating: 8.5/10
Written by Donovan de Necker
1. A Christmas Carol
2. Christmas Story
3. Ghost of Marley
4. Ghost of Christmas Past
5. The Joy of Christmas
6. Ghost of Christmas Present
7. Ghost of Christmas to Come
8. A Christmas Has Come
9. A Majestic Christmas Theme
Tommy Johansson – guitars, vocals
Alex Oriz – guitars
Chris David – bass
Joel Kollberg – drums
“Above the Sky” 2019 (review)
“A Christmas Carol”
Video for ‘Ghost Of Marley’
Lyric video for ‘Ghost Of Christmas Past’
Video for ‘The Joy Of Christmas’