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One of Australia’s biggest metal exports, Melbourne’s melodic power metal masters Black Majesty have returned to the studios in between performing excellent gigs both locally and abroad. Fully entrenched now as a metal band who has come and conquered the big metal gigs in Europe (Masters of Rock Czech Republic, Metal Universe Slovakia and Wacken Open Air Germany), Black Majesty played one of their biggest gigs ever when they played in front of a frenzied 5000 strong contingent in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Taking the success from the previous CD ‘In Your Honour’, guitar wiz Roland Grapow (Masterplan/ex-Helloween) has again played a hand in the recording, producing and mixing side of the new disc, (their 5th) entitled ‘Stargazer’. The drums (Pavel Konvalinka) were recorded at Grapow Studios in Slovakia, while Grapow also mixed and mastered the album. Grapow could be an alias for Midas, as his success rate with helping band’s CDs is quite high, you might say everything Roland touches turns to gold.
Black Majesty hasn’t strayed very much from their initial sound on their debut album ‘Sands of Time’, however they have shaped and tweaked their sound over the years, while maturing greatly as a band to what they are today. Black Majesty has stayed true to their core sounds and structures that have made them become one of the best melodic power metal bands not only in Australia but the world. The band’s signature sound makes them unmistakably unique, whether it is the fast and heavy, soaring and soulful guitar riffs from Stevie Janevski & Hanny Mohamed, or underrated vocalist (Black Majesty’s biggest asset, IMO) John Cavaliere’s hearty and passionate melodic tones rising to the stratosphere.
The new disc entitled ‘Stargazer’ continues the band’s current solid, tight and matured sound, starting up where the previous release ‘In Your Honour’ left off, which is great for Black Majesty fans and melodic power metal fans alike, as ‘In Your Honour’ is arguably their best album to date, right on par with their 2nd disc ‘Silent Company’. Black Majesty have always been a strong song writing band throughout their existence, developing memorable tracks that seem to stay fresh in your mind long after you’ve listened to the albums. The band is also quite creative with their songs, adding symphonic and progressive elements sprinkled around here and there, adding further layers and depth to their sound. ‘Stargazers’ is no exception with the band again expressing their song writing skills, with is quite pivotal today in terms of success is this cut-throat business.
With influences and similarities with bands such as Masterplan, Helloween, Queensryche and Judas Priest (and fans of those bands should jump on Black Majesty if you haven’t already), ‘Stargazer’ is a very solid and enjoyable CD, packed full of high octane double bass pummelling, scorching yet harmonic twin guitar blasts and sensational and powerful melodic vocals from Mr. Cavaliere. Highlights come thick and fast on ‘Stargazer’, starting with the swift and melodic “Falling”, with John Cavaliere right at the top of his game, his vocals soaring high and strong. The twin guitar battles between Janevski and Mohamed are the biggest highlights throughout the album, with dynamic and constructive riffs and solos.
The title track “Stargazer” has an Iron Maiden feel to the sound, giving off an epic sensation, while the “galloping” style guitar riffs during the verses works so well. The excellent song is capped off with a long solo that will make anyone strum along with their air guitar. The furiously fast “Edge of the World” is very melodic indeed with crushing double bass and John again outdoing himself with his vocal performance; while the emotional “Lost Horizon” is signature, in a nutshell Black Majesty, where the song could have appeared on any of their five releases. Lastly “Killing Hand” contains ripping melody and bombastic drumming, a track which nicely combines power metal with Euro heavy metal. Also worth mentioning is the tantalising Dio reminiscent “Holy Killers” and the wonderful and touching (European) bonus track, the acoustic ballad “Shine”. The Aussie version has a different bonus track (“Ariel”) as does the Japanese bonus track (“Lycan”).
Black Majesty are like a fine wine – they only get better with age and most would agree that the band has matured quite nicely as it shows in their musical performances on each release. The song writing has also improved over the years, while the band has established themselves enough in Europe, to be good enough to work with legends of the business such as R.D. Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy, Black Majesty’s ‘Tomorrowland’ CD) and now with the last two albums with Roland Grapow. So if European styled melodic power metal is your poison of choice, then Australia’s Black Majesty is indeed a very nice drop, but definitely not an acquired taste.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com