BLACK MAJESTY – Stargazer

Band:BLACK MAJESTY
Title:Stargazer
Genre:Melodic Power Metal
Year:2012
Label:Limb Music Products
Tags: , , ,
Sunday, September 16, 2012 : 0 Comments

The first BLACK MAJESTY release I reviewed was their third album “Tomorrowland” (2007). See the review here. This was a very nice acquaintance, especially since I hadn’t added anything BLACK MAJESTY to my collection. The Australians had released two albums before and eventually “Silent Company” (2005) was bought as well. Considering it all, I might even add their debut album “Sands Of Time” (2003) at some point. A few years after “Tomorrowland” the band put out their fourth album, “In Your Honour” (2010). You can find my review here.  The production and mixing was done by MASTERPLAN guitarist Roland Grapow, while ex-REBELLION guitarist Uwe Lulis took care of the mastering. The album itself was definitely another strong release, perhaps even better than “Tomorrowland”. In Spring 2011 the band released a music video of “Further Than Insane” and supported Blind Guardian on their Australian tour.

Now, since about the 22nd of July 2012 album no. 5 is out: “Stargazer”. Again the band worked with Roland Grapow and this time I believe he also handled the mastering. Contrary to the previous releases, there is no limited edition (with poster, sticker, …) of “Stargazer”, although each region gets its own bonus track. Europe gets “Shine”, Australia gets “Ariel” and Japan gets “Lycan”. How these non-European songs sound, I can’t tell, but I am of course curious. The cover art was again made by Dirk Illing, just like on the previous albums.

“Stargazer” takes off with “Falling”. This track has an atmospheric, dreamy intro that shifts into pounding melodic Power Metal. However, the verses are acoustic and have low clean vocals. This sounds a bit Progressive somehow. Considering BLACK MAJESTY’s debut was more Progressive than the following ones, it’s no real surprise this influence still lingers here and there. The melodic power is added in the bridge and full power (keyboards and vocals) comes out in the pounding chorus. Here John also sings higher. Acoustic before, now the verses are galopping. There’s very nice guitarwork in this song, rhythmically and melodically. The drums too are well done.

“Lost Horizon” takes off in a direct manner with midtempo melodic Power Metal. Well, the band plays melodic Power Metal, so no use to keep mentioning it, right? The verses are clean with atmospheric bcking, while the Metal comes out in the next instants. The singing is also higher at that point. Melody is again reserved for the bridge and pounding chorus. Catchiness is key, both melodies and the singing. Melodic guitarwork is played in between. Structure-wise it’s the same as the previous song. The solo splits the song in two, after which the chorus is done one more time and the song is ended. But it doesn’t mean it’s not good, on the contrary even. “Voice Of Change” is another song with catchy vocal lines and melodies. It begins with a melodic intro, flowing into fast, uptempo Metal with high clean vocals. This sure is an energizing track! The music gallops in the bridge, while the chorus is sung in a hymnic way. And as you might expect, the melodic guitarwork is very prominent in this song.

“Killing Hand” starts with instrumental talk, firm melodic, midtempo Power Metal. The verses are more Heavy Metal-like, and with a catchy rhythm. The melody remains intact in the bridge, while the chorus is rather slow. This shows a nice distinction with the verses, for example, which are more straight-forward. Halfway the track the music slows down, the Metal cools off and makes way for an acoustic moment before the solo. You can hear the pace is bond to go faster and so it happens, ever faster on its way to the chorus. Next is “Journey To The Soul”, which begins with an atmospheric intro with melodic power bursts. This connects with the verses that contain powerful riffing. The bridge rolls onwards, while the chorus gallops in typical BLACK MAJESTY style. Before the solo, there’s a dark bridge, reminding me of KAMELOT. All in all, very nice stuff! This band is getting better with each album, that’s for sure.

“Holy Killers” is another strong highlight. A melodic intro that builds and erupts into a rapid take-off of superb melodic Power Metal! (sorry, can’t help but repeating) The melodies are catchy and touching as well, I have to add. Firm midtempo verses connect with a rolling bridge (with a high emphasis on METAL!) that links with the fast chorus. Catchy indeed! Very catchy. And will do great live. Halfway there’s an acoustic, solemn moment. when the solo is due, the backing Metal is of course inline. “Symphony Of Death” is a ballad and a very nice one at that. John’s low, solemn vocals are guided by the piano. Atmospheric backing makes the musical picture complete. Drums are added, like the violin, in the bridge. The singing itself is well done, quite emotional too. A damn good job! But that’s not all, as powerful, building symphonic music comes in to announce the next chapter. Midtempo Metal with a symphonic chorus comes in, somewhat 80’s in style. The singing is unaltered compared to the first half. Of course there’s a guitar solo as well.

And what a contrast with “Edge Of The World”! This track offers überfast melodic Power Metal with dark verses. The music pounds in the bridge, where high vocals also reside. The chorus is your typical Power Metal chorus. Like before, the solo breaks the song in two. Before the closing ballad that is “Shine” (only vocals and acoustic guitars), the title track allows the band for a final powerful outburst. It begins with dual guitars playing a hymnic piece. This builds towards pounding, midtempo Power Metal that rolls onwards in the verses. Is this Martin Steen of IRON FIRE on vocals? The chorus is hymnic, solemn and much slower than what preceded. Halfway you get an acoustic/symphonic piece with the returning guitar part of the intro. The solo comes afterwards.

BLACK MAJESTY was founded in 2001, so basicaly celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2011. But as the first release, the EP “Sands Of Time” came out in 2012, you could say it’s in 2012 the band is celebrating and this via their fifth studio full-length “Stargazer”. And how much better can it be than their best release to date! Melodic Power Metal with a capital M, a not just because I started the phrase with it. These Aussies, as I said, get better with each album and “Stargazer” certainly shows that the band is musically on a high height, so to speak. As their previous efforts are very much worth having, this newest is it even more. Highly recommended for any Power Metal fan that likes a good injection of melodicness. Europe is ready for a tour of these guys. Sort of like SANDSTONE is currently touring with Tim Ripper Owens.

 

Tracklist:

  1. Falling
  2. Lost Horizon
  3. Voice Of Change
  4. Killing Hand
  5. Journey To The Soul
  6. Holy Killers
  7. Symphony Of Death
  8. Edge Of The World
  9. Stargazer
  10. Shine (bonus track)

 

Line-up:
John Cavaliere – vocals
Stevie Janevski – guitar
Hanny Mohamed – guitar, keyboards
Pavel Konvalinka – drums

More info at http://www.blackmajesty.com/
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