POWER metal can, at times, produce a sneer from the metal snobs, the so-called arbiters of ‘heaviness’ decrying the entire genre. That seems not to have bothered Sabaton’s Tommy Johansson too much as he releases Majestica’s ‘Above The Sky’.
Prior to his current role in Sabaton Tommy was the lead man Reinxeed. Vague memories of the name were recalled in the midst of our minds, but not of any music, even though they produced albums, the last apparently being in 2010…
However. Tommy must have had some time off from Sabaton recoreding and touring stints as he has resurrected Reinxxed but now under the monicker of Majestica…at least the pronunciation is easier now and was the title of that 2010 release.
And, ‘Above The Sky’ is as pure a power metal release than you are likely to encounter, with massive sprinklings of symphonic metal.
The premise is as always steeped in lyrical silliness; Game of Thrones is over Drogo hs left mounrning Daenerys but apparenty there are still dragons to slay and kings to overthrow and heroic stands to made and battles to fight.
But that is neither the point to ridicule nor for the cynical to smirk at. That is because it is about revelling in the glory of the superb musicianship, and accepting the themes that may, or may not be allegorical.
One cannot deny the quality of playing on here, with massive nods to the likes of Helloween, Gamma Ray et al. Oozing from the album is a clear affection for these bands and the much-maligned genre as evidenced by the title track and the likes of ‘Motley True’ and ‘Father Time’.
Tommy’s playing and his impressive vocal range (as previously heard during his stand-in work with Twilight Force) are complimented by Alex Oriz’s axe work.
What makes this Majestica release so much fun is that for all the so-called pretentiousness of power metal it is an unpretentious approach. It does, as the cliché goes, what it says on the tin. Revel in the pacey ‘The Way To Redemption’ nd you’ll get what we are driving at.
There is one absolute surprise amidst the 10-tracks: ‘Night Call Girl’. This is a song out of its time. Had this been released in the mid-80s it would have been added to radio and MTV playlists quicker than most of Tommy’s solos. Pure heavy rock excellence with a chorus that is the exemplar of an earworm.
The ‘epic’ album closer is, as should be the case, a seven-minute plus romp. ‘Alliance Forever’ with its pace varing structure, hooks and takes if the ‘quest’ makes a lasting impression.
Cover art is always important, but when you can rope in fellow Sabaton guitarist Chris Rörland to express his artist skills then you know this will look, as well as sound, impressive.
Perhaps in the UK we don’t always appreciate the quality and breadth of European power metal, but there is a unique twist offered by the likes of Majestica to some of the more tried and tested genres that disappear down ever-smaller sub-genres and so far in the underground that they become increasingly irrelevant. The truth is that, unlike the scribes and arbiters of taste, the vast majority of metal fans are open-minded. They are the ones that will appreciate Majestica.
Now, where are those dragons that need slaying?
Above The Sky is out now on Nuclear Blast