Some of our readers may recall a Swedish power metal band called REINXEED, who’s last album “A New World” was released back in 2013. Well, after some quiet years, the band comes back with an epic new name – MAJESTICA (Can you find the link to the past?*) – and a shiny new record called “Above the Sky”. The album was unleashed upon the world through Nuclear Blast Records at the beginning of June this year.
A familiar face in MAJESTICA is definitely Tommy Johansson, also known as the guitarist from the successful Swedish heavy metal act SABATON (watch our interview with SABATON‘s Joakim Brodén about their recent release “The Great War” here). This obvious fact being stated, I think both bands should not be compared, as they are separate projects with very different styles. Tommy actually played and sang in REINXEED before he joined SABATON, but I reckon touring with the latter kept him quite busy for the past few years. Therefore, we at Tuonela Magazine were pleasantly surprised by MAJESTICA‘s fresh start, and have been looking forward to reviewing the new album.
With “Above the Sky”, the band seems to stay true to their roots: authentic, speedy, symphonic power metal along similar lines of bands such as GAMMA RAY, STRATOVARIUS, and HELLOWEEN. Speaking of HELLOWEEN, the album features kick-ass double kick drums by none other than Uli Kusch (former HELLOWEEN). Tommy Johansson delivers some excellent vocals, on top of the mouth-watering, complex melodic guitar work we already know and love him for. In addition, I feel like every band member gets sufficient room to shine and display their skills, for example the explosive bass licks by Chris David in songs like the title track “Above the Sky” and “Future Land”. On top of that, I love me some bombastic keyboards, another aspect where MAJESTICA delivers, especially on “Alliance Forever”.
Truth be told, when I first heard “Night Call Girl”, it reminded me of a sweaty 80ies night club and a rather uncomfortable amount of chest hair. The lyrics are slightly cheesy (“Night call girl, can’t afford you but you’re my world”), but – damn – this is one catchy song. I couldn’t get it out of my head for days, and at times felt the urge to randomly start belting out the chorus. Aside from that, listening to the whole record, I discovered some impressive songwriting in well-constructed tracks like “The Rat Pack” and “Future Land”. Songs like “Mötley True” (hehe) and “Father Time” (this one brings in Santa, reindeer, and the can-can) are a fun contrast which add an unexpected, hilarious twist. The last song “Alliance Forever” brings the album to a truly majestic, powerful conclusion, with an epicness that reminds me of AVANTASIA.
In conclusion, I really like this record, it makes me happy, and I would not call it a guilty pleasure at all. The new concept works for me, relying on familiar fantastical elements but at the same time daring to take some risks by breaking some power metal cliches. Listening to this record never fails to bring a smile to my face. In my opinion, if you are a fan of the genre, you should reserve a deserving spot for “Above the Sky” on your cd shelf. Oh, and Tommy, I hereby promise to not start singing “Night Call Girl” at any SABATON show. I will come see MAJESTICA instead. 😉
*Tommy Johansson has stated that the band’s new name MAJESTICA is partly a tribute to REINXEED’s 2010 album “Majestic”.
- Above The Sky
- Rising Tide
- The Rat Pack
- Mötley True
- The Way To Redemption
- Night Call Girl
- Future Land
- The Legend
- Father Time (Where Are You Now)
- Alliance Forever
Tommy Johansson – guitar, vocals
Alex Oriz – guitar
Chris David – bass
Nuclear Blast Records