Unless you keep one eye permanently fixed on the European power metal scene, the chances are you might not have heard of Swedish act Majestica. You’ll have probably have heard of ReinXeed though, and – no matter what your opinion of them might be – you’ll definitely have heard of Sabaton. The link between them all? Guitarist Tommy Johansson.
Away from fellow Swedish war enthusiasts, Sabaton, Johansson is also the brains behind symphonic metal act ReinXeed, who after a spot of surprise re-branding, are now going under the name of Majestica.
Work on Above the Sky (Nuclear Blast Records) actually began back in 2014 when Johansson contacted former Helloween drummer Uli Kusch to work with him on some new material. Since then, with the help of Alex Oriz (guitars) and Chris David (bass), songs have been completed whenever scheduling has allowed, and now finally, the finished article is upon us.
Beating with the metal pumpkin heart of Helloween, the title track opens proceedings with a suitably mad bassline, and a chorus so gloriously cheesetastic, it’ll be stuck in your head for quite some time. ‘Rising Tide’ and ‘The Rat Pack’ continue in a Stratovarius meets Sonata Arctica vein, with brisk Euro-riffing and more choruses you’ll have to dig forcibly out of your brain, before the slower, eight-minute ‘Mötley True’ – although undoubtedly a decent song – does temper the momentum slightly.
Elsewhere, ‘The Way to Redemption’ is power metal by the numbers but still lots of fun, the joyously 1980s ‘Night Call Girl’ is hairspray and spandex perfection, and the ridiculous intro to ‘Future Land’ sounds like the theme tune to an ’80s kids TV show before the song takes off with more Helloween inspired riffs and another victorious chorus.
Another cheesy keyboard intro heralds the entrance of appropriately bombastic ‘The Legend’, while ‘Father Time’ starts out as a generic ballad before going completely and utterly bonkers, even throwing in a couple of bars of the can-can because why the fuck not. The seven and a half-minute ‘Alliance Forever’ closes the album on a slightly more serious but still upbeat note, and the first thing you’ll want to do when it finishes is press repeat and go again. Or possibly head to the toilet and be sick, if power metal isn’t your thing.
As cheesy as it gets, Majestica’s brand of riffalicious Eurometal certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but Above The Sky is definitely one of the power metal highlights of the year so far.
8 / 10