MAJESTY - Back To Attack
March 14, 2023, 2 weeks ago
A planned one year hiatus was exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, but Germany's answer to Manowar are back! While Majesty has never shied away from the comparisons to the Kings Of Metal, they do differentiate themselves from the upstate New Yorkers. True, both write simplistic, easy to sing-along marching anthems about warriors, surviving the war/fight and freedom (punctuated by military snare cadence, plus occasionally employing piano and/or acoustic guitar), but there's an undeniably Teutonic, upbeat, clickety-clack melody in their DNA. Closer to emotional Brainstorm than the snappy, cut & dry Primal Fear.
Tenth album into a 25+ year career, they've righted the hideous misstep of 2019's Legends (more like a legendary miscalculation, abandoning their established shtick and adopting an even less believable modern metal sound). Disc opens with an orchestral backed spoken word oratory (no Orson Welles, nor Christopher Lee), but signifies the return. The title track kicks in, just as the voice trails off, a full sprint out of the gate. Atypical, in the fact the stanzas are verbose, but the repetitive titular phrase, come the chorus, is guaranteed to be a surefire European concert staple. There is a brief, restrained segment, with the aforementioned marching snare, before the guitar break and then, from there on, it speeds to the conclusion.
Eleven songs is probably a few too many, but given the layoff, sure they had plenty of stuff laying around and wanted to get it out. Mid-tempo jaunts, like "Demon War" and belabored begun "A Hero's Storm" (while still in possess of double bass drumming and requisite fret flailing guitar spotlight) are less effective. A fist-thruster, "Glorious Warriors" (Man, do these guys force some of the rhymes!) should come with a DeMaio Seal Of Approval sticker. Ditto "Never Kneel", whereas "Freedom Child" falls in line with their traditional German metal contemporaries (apart from a few seconds break, where a lone piano accompanies the lyrics). Mid-album diversion continues with "Age Of Glory", also more Euro than American, in terms of inspiration. "Saviors In The Dark" is another speedster. At one point, it goes "Freedom...Magic...Wisdom," each pronunciation stressed, with a break for emphasis. Practically reads like a Manowar title!
For the lack of a better word, the acoustic and piano tinged "In The Silence" is a ballad, standing apart from the others, feeling like a different band (Brainstorm!). Experiments over, the final pair fit the (preconceived) mold. "Our Time Has Come" lacks urgency, preferring to ride a beer hall sing-along vibe. Can practically see battle jacketed patrons standing, arm-in-arm, giant steins aloft as the beer sloshes with each drunken sway. "Heralds Of The Storm" finale completes the album, much as it started, a rapid race to the end, albeit with an almost folk (Celtic?)/Viking sensibility (Think vintage Falconer).
Welcome the return of these warlords, armed with new battle hymns, to blow your speakers. Hail & kill.