Majestica - Above the Sky

Majestica Above the Sky cover
Above the Sky
Nuclear Blast Records
As Tommy “ReinXeed” Johansson joined the massively popular compatriots in Sabaton. I suppose it was either his or the company’s idea to try and capitalize on the eponymous ReinXeed band, which he started initially as a one man band, which then was sort of transformed into a low key full-fledged project band, which was known for churning out Christian themed power metal through specialized companies as $30 a pop w/o postage no less (back in the day) and ended its career by releasing the second volume of a pop standards covers album a half dozen years ago.
But instead of trying to reignite a “done deal” of a band, renaming it into Majestica seemed like a better option. Still it’s the same thing... ReinXeed (maybe in part inspired by their 2010 album “Majestic”, but who knows?)…
The album sounds like a well performed and produced but highly derivative and rather unimaginative, copy of the better moments of bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray or Stratovarius. It sounds like a very fine Stratovarius demo… with a less accented, but also not as memorable singer, timbre wise. There’s something very generic about Johansson’s voice and with all his previous works/collaborations the amount of production was rather copious, thus distracting quite a bit from the performances.
“Rising Tide” had me scratching my head, whether I had heard its melody on either one of Tommy’s previous bands or from Pellek?. Despite not being able to come to a conclusion, it’s a nice, if not slightly by the numbers epic power metal that should have been the album’s centerpiece.
“The Rat Pack” feels like it took a bit from the eponymous Unisonic tune, then dropped some quantized drums on top (Uli who? The guy that asks for a lot of money because he used to be in a famous band and then advices bands to use their touring bands to track the albums Ie “selling his name”?) of Stratostolen keys and then oversung the helloweenis on top of everything.
“Mötley True” possibly tries to poke fun at the “true” crowd, by including every possible cliché under the sun in the lyrics, but trying to be “serious” while doing it. Matter of fact, I’m sick and tired of all these joke bands like Gloryhammer, Alestrom and the like… this is slightly better musically, but feels dear coming from a guy that has done not one but two pop Abba cover albums in his short career.
Ah, where is Dr Zoltan Ubelisk and his “War on Fun”. Sign me up, I’ll conscript.
“The Way to Redemption” must have gotten some memo that there’s a competition against Dragonforce about who could write a faster song. It’s actually better than most everything that Dragonforce (a band that I also don’t particularly enjoy) has ever written, although once Johasson tires of the rapidfire delivery it ends up almost sounding like a better sung Sabaton tune. Weird mix of styles! The actual mix ain’t terrible although those drums sound quite bogged and mechanical (cough-cough).
“Night Call Girl” enters the neon territory of 80s pop/disco, that drooly T is no stranger of. It sounds like someone kicked Beast In Black in the gonads – thus eliminating all the grit and leaving the disco rock. It might have worked as a NFO tune.
“Freedom Land” is actually a re-recording of the first thing that TJ ever released as ReinXeed, back in 2002 and it’s highly derivative, as it uses the same intro as Stratovarius’s “Wings of Tomorrow”, which itself owes a bit to both Europe and John Williams’s Star Wars Theme… before it turns into a rather decent double bass drum tune that features parts that have more than a passing semblance to a couple of parts of songs by other bands, but hey… no big deal. Who was original when they started. But why he didn’t call it “Freedom Call”, or “Land of the Free” or “Future World” – just saying… is beyond me!
“The Legend” is an OK mid-tempo tune that didn’t manage to remind me anything too much, although those keys…. who knows, ah… I give up. I even kind of like it.
Father Time (Where Are You Now)” is another “funny/joke” tune that combines the idiotic but lovable Helloween & Edguy type of humor, with Blind Guardian’s parchment for Queen like grandiosity/complexity and just speeds through some fourteen stanzas in less than four and a half minutes. Hurrah-hurray for boobies!
“Alliance Forever” sounds as if someone kicked Tobias, sorry Tommy in the gonads and then asked him to sing something that sounds like a bizarre mix between Avantasia and Stratovarius at their most epic… around the “Elements” era. It’s rather underwhelming as a closer.
The 2002 version of “Future Land”, which is not as tight and almost a whole minute longer than the re-recording is included as a bonus along with a cover to The Spinner’s “Spaceballs” theme… which made me nostalgic about the original and the movie, but is in no way shape or form any better than it as it has nowhere near the same groove as the original did. And damn it bro if a 60s soul band sounds groovier than you some 60 years later.
But it’s the mothballs that this project reeks of that should worry the listener, as this seems more like a calculated move than a genuine musical project. Only die hard ReinXeed fans or people that follow a strict Europower “diet” would appreciate this album, and I am neither of those things. As by the numbers and cliché as it could get, despite how well it’ performed. Sorry… but not sorry!