Released: 2007, Limb Music Products
Australian melodic power metallers Black Majesty have returned with their third album on the German Limb Music label, a record company well-known for dishing out heaping helpings of superlatives in the descriptions of their artists...but in the case of this band, the accolades are for the most part deserved. TOMORROWLAND is exactly what you'd expect and hope for from a melodic power metal album: double bass drums, galloping guitar riffs, good lead breaks, and lots of melody in both the vocal and musical departments. True, they're not doing anything unique, but Black Majesty seem to possess a certain indefinable quality of charisma in their delivery that sets them apart from the pack and grabs the ear more than most other practitioners of their genre. For those who've heard the previous two releases, TOMORROWLAND is similar to the group's earlier albums (2003's SANDS OF TIME and 2005's SILENT COMPANY), but tighter, more focused, and more mature in terms of songwriting.
Vanishing Point's Endel Rivers produced the album at Melbourne's Palmstudios, giving it a clear, solid sound but managing to avoid the modern-day common trap of sterilizing the musical energy by digital overproduction. Vocalist John Cavailere has a great range and excellent talent for harmonizing, and the guitar duo of Janevski and Mohamed near-consistently churn out excellent riffs and dual-guitar harmonies and leads with a strong Maiden-meets-Helloween old-school power metal influence. Opener "Forever Damned" is a pretty standard power metal tune with chord progressions you've heard a thousand times before, but it's very well-delivered and features a superb solo section. Far more interesting is the introspective following track "Into The Black," which varies from melodic, clean verses which remind me a bit of some early Queensryche pieces (particularly "Roads To Madness") to harmonized power metal choruses and back again. "Evil In Your Eyes" is another standout, a bit slower cut with a huge chorus and Dickinson/Sammet-like verse vocals as well as some excellent guitar harmonies and great lead breaks. Aggressive track "Faces Of War" is probably the best on the album...it's rife with power-metal clichés including a very Maidenish opening harmony lick and stacatto-picked artificial-harmonic-laden riffs which instantly call to mind Dokken's "Kiss Of Death" amongst any of a dozen other pieces, but it's all done so well and with so much conviction it doesn't sound stale at all. The cover of Deep Purple's "Soldier Of Fortune" is interesting...still melodic and clean in the verses, but metallized with heavy guitars effectively in the choruses. Unfortunately, while Cavailere does have a very good melodic voice, he's no David Coverdale, so the song doesn't have quite the same emotive impact as the original. Most of the other tunes fall into the standard melodic power metal formula - again, very well-done, but nothing truly original.
Black Majesty's three albums so far have shown continual growth and improvement, stepping up their musical quality each time. TOMORROWLAND is highly unoriginal, yes, but a greatly enjoyable listen nonetheless for fans of Maiden-tinged melodic power metal. Fans of the band's previous works should definitely pick it up, and those who haven't heard them before but enjoy the style will no doubt find a listen worthwhile.