Out of the ashes of ReinXeed comes Majestica to fill your ears with galloping fast drums, blazing riffs and solos and bass work that equals the complexity from the guitars.
Before joining Sabaton, guitarist/vocalist Tommy Johansson was busy with his own power metal band ReinXeed, but unfortunately as Sabaton grew, ReinXeed seemed to just fade away. Now the band is back and known as Majestica, a nod to the 2010 ReinXeed album Majestic.
Given the tagline “Swedish symphonic power metal”, my expectations were pretty much set as to what I was going to hear when I fired this album up. The band chose to make a video for the first track “Above the Sky” which shows the band playing the scarily fast power metal track on an airport runway. Much along the lines of Dragonforce, the song is as much a vehicle to showcase the talents of the musicians as it is a regular song. The very opening is even an amazing bass riff by Chris David. As expected for the genre, vocals are clean and clear and show quite a bit of range from Tommy ReinXeed although the highest register pieces seem a bit forced and thin compared to the rest. The song gallops along at breakneck speed with periodic perfect gang chorus sections, while all the time seeming to just set the stage for the inevitable trade-off guitar solos and drum and bass solo in this particular case.
Make no mistake, this album is an over-the-top power metal showcase. Every stereotype you can think about power metal is found here and then some, but no matter what you think about that, the sheer talent is amazing and the songs are written in such a way that one can’t help get the feeling the band pulled out all the stops on purpose. Some of the elements, like the keyboard opening on “The Rat Pack” do tend throw one off briefly, but then the song heads in a direction much more familiar to the audience. To me, the more interesting tracks on the album are also the longest with “Motley True” clocking in over 8 minutes and “Alliance Forever” well over seven minutes long. The combination of guitar riffs and drums over top of the keyboards in “Motley True” works really well and the despite the tongue-in-cheek title, the epic story in the song hearkens back to early days of power metal. While “Alliance Forever” also makes good use of the keyboards to accent the guitars, the overall approach for the songs is quite different with verse sections featuring vocals driving things along before the band joins in and then the ultra-fast bridge/chorus sections tie it all together.
Some of the songs, just don’t work for me like “Night Call Girl” that opens up with keyboards that sound straight out of a soundtrack for a cheesy 80’s movie, and when the guitars come in, that feeling remains despite the complexity of the parts being played. The song itself just sounds dated. “Father Time (Where Are You Now), sounds at first as if it is going to be a power metal “Bohemian Rhapsody” but then shifts into what sounds very much like the Christmas classic “Rudolph vs. Frosty” by Theocracy complete with wacky lyrics about “Father time with a rifle in his hand”. Some versions of the release have the tracks “Future Land” from 2002 and a cover of “Spaceballs”.
The talent on display here is undeniable and Majestica manage to craft some catchy tunes built to showcase the individual talents of the band members. Some of the tracks do seem so over the top that it becomes difficult to take the album seriously but in the same sense, this does help it stand out from the myriad of other power metal bands.
Written by John Jackson
1. Above The Sky
2. Rising Tide
3. The Rat Pack
4. Mötley True
5. The Way To Redemption
6. Night Call Girl
7. Future Land
8. The Legend
9. Father Time (Where Are You Now)
10. Alliance Forever
Bonus tracks (Digi and 2LP only):
11. Future Land (2002)
Tommy ReinXeed Johansson – Guitars, Vocals
Alex Oriz – Guitars
Chris David – Bass
Uli Kusch – Drums (Studio)
Daniel Sjögren – Drums (Live)
Release Date: June 7th. 2019
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Video for ‘Above The Sky’
Lyric video for ‘Rising Tide’
Lyric video for ‘Night Call Girl’