Released: 2005, Mayan Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
I have to admit I'm not the worlds most dedicated Gamma Ray fan. I know that sounds odd because as a massive Power Metal fan, in theory, I should just absolutely worship at the altar of Gamma Ray, because they are among the elite of the Metal Gods. I have always found their inconsistency and lack of a signature sound perplexing. I followed the band closely all through the 90's but somehow I lost track of the band at the turn of the century and the following three albums (NEW WORLD ORDER, MAJESTIC, and LAND OF THE FREE II) just haven't fully registered with me. I rejoined the Gamma Ray party in 2010 with TO THE METAL.
When I was going back through the database to see what reviews we needed to write to complete to fill some catalogue gaps, I discovered that no one had reviewed MAJESTIC. Since I had never reviewed a Gamma Ray album for this site, this was my opportunity to to revisit this album. Upon further reflection I realized that although I had the album it was released in 2005 at a very difficult time in my personal life. In fact, 2005 was the time when I had taken a temporary hiatus from Metal-Rules. I got a hard copy of the album, heard it, in one ear and out the other, and filed it and didn't listen to it for years. Through absolutely no fault of the band, MAJESTIC was one of the 'lost albums'.
One of the (very) rare disadvantages of having a massive collection of CD's is that sometimes albums, like MAJESTIC, get lost in the shuffle. On the positive side of the equation, when I pulled this album out for the review it was like discovering (cliche alert!) a hidden gem that I had not heard in years nor fully appreciated in the first place! I was so happy to revisit MAJESTIC with fresh ears, I was shocked how I could have missed such a fantastic album, the first time.
Onto the review proper, MAJESTIC sports a gorgeous cover art and the long standing band mascot, FangFace, has never looked meaner. The band is on a huge roll,with the fourth album in a row with the classic line-up of Kai, Henjo, Dirk and Dan, a lineup that ultimately lasted about 15 years. The album was issued on the short-lived and Ill-fated Sanctuary Records offshoot, Mayan Records and in terms of production and presentation, the album is flawless.
This could be said to be one of the bands more straight ahead Metal albums. Some Gamma Ray albums have a distinction 80's sound, some have the happy sound but this one is more like POWERPLANT or perhaps SOMEWHERE OUT IN SPACE. The riffs are strong, the lyrics are a bit more dark at times. The pace is mostly fast and the whole album is a bit more heavier and aggressive than in previous years. Some consider this to be a bit of a dark horse album ale well, but I'm glad I'm rediscovering it. The long break between albums, almost four years, might have reinvigorated the band a bit in the song-writing area.
You couldn't ask for more from a veteran Power Metal band and Gamma Ray delivered on MAJESTIC.