Black Majesty - In your honour 4.5/5

Reviewed: 7-1-10





Tracklist:

1. Far beyond
2. God of war
3. Millenium
4. Break these chains
5. Further than insane
6. End of time
7. Wish you well
8. Follow
9. Witching hour


Australian power metal group, Black Majesty, have made some leaps and bounds in the metal world since their inception in 2002. A local Melbourne band originally, Black Majesty took their powerful and melodic riffs and soaring vocals overseas and found success in Europe. A hard thing to do for an Aussie metal group, but Black Majesty gained exposure and popularity across Europe and have paved the way for other Australian metal bands to be able to do the same.

Black Majesty has also gained exposure by supporting the big bands that have made the trek to the land down under. Black Majesty have opened for bands like Dragonforce, Nightwish and Helloween, and from first hand knowledge, they certainly know how to rock the crowd; while gaining new fans in the process.

Signed with European label, Limb Music, Black Majesty have released 4 solid CDs, with their latest entitled ‘In your honour’. While the debut release (‘Sands of time’) was fairly solid going by all reports and reviews, it was their follow-up, ‘Silent company’ which brought Black Majesty to the overseas market and the success and exposure that they have today. The Aussie band found their niche with the excellent ‘Silent company’, which carried over to their 3rd release, ‘Tomorrowland’; another honest and solid effort by the Aussie quartet.

This brings us to the new CD, ‘In your honour’. For this record, Black Majesty travelled to Europe, to the country of Slovakia , where they received the knowledge and talent of a high profile personality in the metal scene. I speak of none other than Masterplan guitarist, Roland Grapow. With the vocals and guitars recorded by Endel Rivers at Palm Studios, Melbourne, the drums were recorded by Grapow at his studio in Slovakia . The CD was also mixed by Roland Grapow at his studio and then mastered by Rebellion founder and guitarist, Uwe Lulis in Germany. Black Majesty have a history of big heads in metal lending their support, as with ‘Tomorrowland’, the record was mastered by R.D. Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy).

Incorporating a heavier feel throughout the CD, while retaining the band’s trademark melodic sound, the CD has a powerful edge and a refreshing nature. This was missing somewhat on the ‘Tomorrowland’ release, which despite being quite solid overall, it was a CD that felt like it was done by the numbers. ‘In your honour’ boasts catchy and creative songs that can be compared to the quality and standout tracks on their ‘Silent company’ CD, but with a crisp, fine polished finish. John Cavaliere’s vocals may suffer from a slight lack of diversity at times, but no one can dismiss his striking and soaring wails and well respected passion that he displays to all on every release. On ‘In your honour’, Cavaliere once again sings his heart out, with great gusto and emotion and I’m left thinking that he is truly an underrated vocalist.

Black Majesty have rarely strayed from their key signature sound since the beginning, and the same continues here with the new CD. With that being said, I do feel that the latest CD is inspired, bolder and bigger than the previous 3 releases. With Roland Grapow and Uwe Lulis in their corner, the expectations on ‘In your honour’ are much higher than ever before. In the end, this new release may not be groundbreaking, or a masterpiece of epic proportions, but it is an improvement over ‘Tomorrowland’ and right up there with (if not better than) ‘Silent company’.

“Far beyond”, the opening bombastic and speedy track sets the pace of the disc and also the quality. With great depth and melody, the track is an instant Black Majesty classic. The twin guitar blasts of Steve Janevski and Hanny Mohammed reign supreme over the track and it’s easy to say that “Far beyond” is one of the best tracks on the CD. While “God of war” has a catchy and impressive chorus and solo, “Millenium” has a darker feel, with a sound reminiscent of Kamelot. After the slow, soaring and emotional “Break these chains”, the pace picks up with thunderous grooves of “Further than sane”.

The fantastic “End of time” begins with a catchy riff, while the track is a melodic mid-paced winner, with precise and strong guitar chords and energetic singing from Cavaliere. The CD concludes with the final 3 tracks, “Wish you well”, the uplifting and guitar driven “Follow” and the swift “Witching hour”. I must say I'm left very impressed with ‘In your honour’, after ‘Tomorrowland’ left me thinking they could have done more. Black Majesty have come out with all guns blazing and it really shows with such high quality of tracks on the CD. They are all quite consistent and all very good. Black Majesty have improved considerably since the 3rd release, sounding sharper, brighter, heavier and more inspired than ever before. In terms of consistency and overall catchiness and quality; ‘In your honour’ is Black Majesty’s best release to date.

All melodic power metal fans should jump onto this CD, not just because it is a great release in its own right, but also to realise that Australia can produce some great metal bands who can proudly stand side-by-side with bands from Europe and America. Like their fansite says; Black Majesty are indeed the melodic metal masters.



SEAN




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