ALBUM REVIEW: Judicator – The Majesty of Decay

When one thinks about the Power Metal genre, several European bands might come to mind. There are the greats like Blind Guardian, Helloween, and Rhapsody of Fire that have carried this grandiose genre for many years. Yet things are beginning to change. A fresh take on speed, symphony, and big vocals is occurring in North America and Judicator is one of the bands making it happen. They have been around for ten years and are getting ready to release their sixth full-length, The Majesty of Decay (Prosthetic Records). Even with a handful of lineup changes over the past decade, the sound that made people’s ears perk is still there. Known for writing about historical events and people, this new release is a concept album that takes on a much darker theme.

‘Euphoric Parasitism’ opens the album with an acoustic guitar that strums out a slightly unsettling melody. An uncomfortable, yet intriguing vibe is set as the high vocals cut in with an enthusiastic keenness. The listener is prepped on this piece as original member and vocalist, John Yelland mulls over nightmares and fear. With the scene set, the album goes on to deliberate over despair, decay, and death. Most of the numbers stray from the traditional power sound. The title track and ‘Daughter of Swords’ give off a classic rock energy with gritty shredding and upbeat guitar work that canters along in a catchy way. Then some symphonic elements pop up on pieces that provide a gothic feel which fits nicely with the darker edge on this album. Jordan Elcess’ drums are upfront in the mix giving a primitive feel to the overall production. Everything sounds slightly disheveled because there is a lack of meshing between each element being projected so the sound is a little rustic.

The variety continues on ‘Ursa Minor’ and ‘Ursa Major’. A new side to the band is shown when they flirt with some Black Metal blast beats and eerie wails which has hints to the likes of Mercyful Fate. Ursa means bear in Latin and the influence of nature is evident on other songs like ‘From the Belly of the Whale’ and ‘The Black Elk’. The raw content from their telling of loss connects well with the earthy themes they highlight. More variety is served with the 70’s vibe on ‘The High Princess’, the classic headbanger piece, ‘Judgment’ featuring Angel Chatzitheodorou, and the epic last number, ‘Metamorphosis’.


The wide range of musical moods shows the band’s skillful adaptability. While shaking things up is great, the lack of cohesiveness could draw someone out of the message of the music. One could get lost or distracted with the many bells and whistles being thrown at them. Yet maybe that is the point. A strong effort was put into this record and they should be commended for that. There is still room for this new lineup to find their footing and once they do it will be exciting to hear what they come up with next.

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7 / 10