Metalforce - s/t 3/5
1. Faster, louder, Metalforce
2. Freedom warriors
3. I rule the night
4. Thunder and lightning
5. Metal crusaders
6. When the valkries fly
8. We are the fire
9. Melt thy steel
10. Let the battle begin
11. Son of the north
I still remember quite well a confusing little story told to me by a couple of my friends on their return from the 2008 edition of the Magic Circle Festival in Germany. In between announcements of various band pulling out on their slated day of performance and struggling to find a supply of running water at Manowar’s farcically organised little soirée came the news that the Kings of Metal’s own little Mini-Me, Majesty had split up, but would still be playing their slot at the festival under a new name.
The press release that followed didn’t really cast any more light on the subject, being an attempt to spin some guff about how the name “Metalforce” came to Terek Maghary in a dream and meant the ‘new’ band would be bigger and better than ever before. The opening song on this 's/t' CD may be called “Faster, louder, METALFORCE,” but in truth it may as well have been called “Exactly the same as Majesty, METALFORCE.” For although this ‘debut’ is getting bigged up (mostly by Maghary himself, admittedly) as some sort of grand re-birth and platform to greater things, in reality it’s no more than a quick rebranding, more akin to your local Irish pub changing their name from The Shamrock to The Clover than a deity casting off its old form to ascend new heights of grandeur.
Majesty were always a pretty simple prospect anyway, and its debatable if Maghary would know how to make changes to his style of writing catchy, simplistic songs championing the glory of heavy metal even if he wanted to (I’ll just leave aside the potentially libellous debate over how ‘true metal’ changing the name of your band to weasel out of a record deal is).
Admittedly it has less of the limited variety of style seen on 2006’s ‘Hellforces’, with none of the pseudo-Rhapsody symphonic stylings of “Guardians of the dragon grail” or the rocking hilarity of “Raptor”. Instead it is I suppose a purer vision of the existing Majesty style, 11 straightforward 4 to 5-minute songs of hard hitting simplicity that rarely fail to charm with their goofy, but no doubt sincere, lyrical posturing and catchy, unchallenging melodies. After the pounding speed of the opener – true to its word in at least one sense as it is easily on of the band’s fastest to date – things tends to settle down into the more familiar territory of midtempo pounding.
One of the new men on the scene in the ever-revolving rotation of band members (please note that Metalforce initially had the exact same line-up as Majesty) is guitarist Tristan Visser, and despite being given nothing to do that he couldn’t manage in his sleep in a rhythmic sense, he really lets rip when it comes to the solos, his dazzling fretwork lighting up many of the songs that in truth feel as though they are sometimes merely plodding from chorus to chorus. It isn’t the first time Maghary has raided a death metal band for their guitar talent, and his policy has paid dividends again as Visser’s OTT noodling adds some much-needed vim to the CD.
It’s true that, at 54 minutes in length, the CD does become a bit of a slog as it moves into its 2nd half; many of the songs are fairly interchangeable on a musical level, with a series of very basic drum and chord patterns sometimes only distinguishable by the tempo they are played at. At heart though, it is a fairly easy, enjoyable listen, and the repetitiveness can be ignored in favour of singing along to the uplifting melodies and loveably daft lyrics. It’s hard to pick out individual songs worthy of praise or criticism, not only since they are all cut from very similar cloth, but also because none are really worthy of either any massive hype or damning disparagement. If you like “Thunder and lightning”, say, you couldn’t really justifiably dislike either “Metal crusaders” or “Thunderchild” as all 3 are really just different variations of each other.
There isn’t a lot more to say, really; anyone already a fan of Majesty’s work – or Atlantic-era onwards Manowar for that matter - will be pleased with more of the same from Terek Maghary and company, but if the previous version of the band didn’t exactly melt thy steel (yuk yuk), you won’t be won over by anything here.
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