Black Majesty - Sands Of Time
Bands like for instance Pegazus, Dungeon, Black Steel and Vanishing Point have already started to put Australia more in focus on the international metal scene and joining them on this mission is one of the more interesting new bands, Black Majesty. This Melbourne based four headed act was formed in 2001 and have also been named Kymera and Arkaya. The band gave out a three sampler EP also entitled Sands Of Time. That one got some great reviews in the underground media and therefore this debut full length album was something I was very interested in getting my own copy of.
The band info suggests that Black Majesty plays progressive melodic metal but I would rather say that it's (highly) melodic power metal with slight progressive parts on some tracks that we're up against. The instant you press play and the first tones reach your ears the feeling of having heard similar metal many times before emerges. But after numerous rotations I can now assure you that there's no other band you can say they remind very strongly of which should mean that Black Majesty have a sound of their own. That the band is very much influenced by classic bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Jag Panzer, Helloween etc becomes very obvious though and their efforts to also create a metal in those veins is a quest where they have succeeded very well. You can spot very Maiden-esque rhythms, intros and melody sections, twin guitar attacking á la Judas Priest, speed and tempo from bands like Helloween, verses and som choruses that makes me think of Angra and Labÿrinth's Return to Heaven Denied but Black Majesty isn't just the sum of all those parts but something much more. This is a very interesting up-and-comer that has what it takes to stand out from the almost never ending stream of new metal bands.
The vocalist John Cavaliere is one of the major key-stones in that statement. He's got a voice very suitable for this kind of metal and I sense touches of other metal singers like Jeff Scott Soto, Geoff Tate, Rob Rock and even hints of Dickinson in some aspects. Whether or not he lives up to the proclamation of "already respected as one of Australia's best metal vocalists" is open for some debating but that he's a really great singer is definitely as undisputable as it can get. He's doing a real terrific job here and he's also getting support on the track Guardian from former Pegazus singer Danny Cecati (nowadays in Eyefear). So the real important building block of having great singing is absolutely taken care of and paves the way for the rest. And what I really fancy about Sands of Time is the comprehensive song construction and above all- the previously hinted guitar factor. The focus lies not only on excellent solos and interlude sections ('cause there's certainly heavy doses of that) but also on great intro parts and some more crunching and progressive shorter episodes. The firm Janevski & Mohamed delivers a guitar performance that's basically nothing but top notch and to be compared to bands like for instance Priest and Maiden nails that fact down energetically.
Sands of Time is a highly melodic metal release with a superb variety between the songs and contains material that feels very fresh and free of genre clichés and happy "tralala" stuff. The production could of course have been better but it's still more than sufficient enough for a debut album. As you sow you will reap and the seeds planted by Black Majesty on Sands Of Time will most certainly come to harvest some great successes in the future so the career of these Aussies should be really interesting to follow in the years to come. Meanwhile I suggest you listen to Fall Of The Reich on Limb Music's homepage and if that doesn't convince you to a purchase, I have nothing but sympathy to offer.
also review of: Silent Company