Majestica – Above the Sky (2019)

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On the 7th of June, Majestica will release the album “Above the Sky”, which is their first under the banner of Majestica, but there is a decade of history to the band as Reinxeed.

Beginning in 2004, Reinxeed was formed by Tommy Johansson in Boden, Sweden.  Playing their own version of power metal, influenced by Stratovarious, Halloween and Blind Guardian, along with a touch of Gary Moore, Reinxeed went on to release 6 albums, before taking an extended hiatus.

After the break, the band reconvened Under the Majestica banner, with a fresh start in mind.  According to bass player Chris David, the name change “was necessary to help with the fresh start”.

As the title track opens the new album, it does sound like a band who are confident, and happy in their current situation.  We are given a galloping musical backdrop to soaring vocals that will be familiar to power metal fans old and new.

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When I spoke to Chris about Majestica, and the album in particular, I asked him about the recording process for Above the Sky.

“It was a pretty long process, first starting the demo phase back in 2014”.  He goes on to say that the band made a clear decision to take their time.  “There was no rush, we wanted to take the time to make it sound the way we wanted it to sound”.

As we move on to first single Rising Tide, it’s clear that the long process has paid off.  The vocals (recorded three times in total) are really something special here.  Likewise for The Rat Pack.  You can just tell that these songs have been nurtured without being forced.

The drum sound is immense, and being that the full members of Majestica are so influenced by Halloween, they were over the moon to have former drummer, Uli Kusch, involved in their album.  “We went to a friend with our demoed record, and asked him for ideas on who could play drums.  He said he had someone in mind, but didn’t tell us who, then he came back and told us it was Uli Kusch and he was willing to do it!” He goes on to tell me “Uli said they were the best demos he’d ever heard!”

Motley True is the first real sign of another element that Majestica are influenced by, and that is film scores.  “Reinxeeds fifth album was a concept album about movies.  The movie thing has always been there, but we decided to make it a big part of Majesticas sound”.  It’s an epic track, not only musically and lyrically, but it clocks in at over 8 minutes.

The Way to Redemption is standard power metal fare, while second single Night Call Girl brings something poppier to the bands repertoire with the use of synths.  The galloping metal remains, but there’s a certain commercial viability to this track.  In passing, I ask Chris about the feedback for the two singles so far.  He sounds elated in his response of “overwhelmingly positive!”

And the response should be nothing less.  These are well crafted songs that deserve to be heard, and in my opinion, are every bit as good as those bands that influence them.  Listen to the diversity in Future Land, or the atmospherics of The Legend for proof.  The choirs add depth and the cinematic edge that the band like to showcase.

Father Time is a theatrical rock opera that owes as much to Queen as it does to Blind Guardian, while Alliance Forever closes out the album with an epic 7 minute highlight of Above the Sky.

There are unfortunately no current plans for any Majestica shows, with shared member, vocalist Tommy Johanssen currently busy with guitar duties for Sabaton.  I asked Chris David if there were any difficulties in sharing band members.  He initially seems hesitant in his answer, but maintains that “when planning something, the band always take care to include everybody else’s plans… we’re all busy guys!”.

Although the album is still a few weeks away from release, I ask about the bands plans for future music.  “We already have several songs in the demo stage, but no real direction as yet.  It might be a concept similar to Reinxeed, or it might not.  It could even be a double album, half Reinxeed style and half normal… we don’t know yet.”

Above the Sky is an excellent listen from start to finish, and I recommend it to all fans of power metal, and Chris concurs with this final message “if you’re interested in power metal, you will love this album, I’m sure.  It has a lot of influences from old school power metal bands.  We do keep the important elements of Reinxeed, so if you were a fan you are not going to be disappointed, and power metal fans will not be disappointed either.”

8/10

Review and interview by Shayne McGowan

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