“Majestic” was my very first taste of ReinXeed, the studio project of Tommy Johansson (Majestic Vanguard, Golden Resurrection), that I've heard tossed back and forth for a while now. I never realized that he was so young, having released a trio of studio albums by himself by the age of 23. This only increased my admiration for his work, though I confess I became a little bit nervous about the album as well, worried that it might not have a very mature sound.
This is unabashedly symphonic and somewhat “fluffy” power metal. There's not much heaviness to it, and this will turn off a number of people immediately. If you're one of those ridiculously masculine, closed-minded metalheads, I pity you. What you are missing is a veritable treasure-trove of soaring melodies, fantastic shredding, and wonderfully emotive neo-classical songwriting. The lyrics are primarily Christian in content, but tend towards themes of strength, freedom, and inspiration rather than preaching gospel, so they are largely unobjectionable.
If there's fault to be found with “Majestic”, it may be that there's a sameness in sound between some tracks, though anyone with a trained ear will most likely not find this a problem. As I mentioned earlier, this album is infectious and catchy. I have a hard time getting into slower songs, as some may know, and ReinXeed's “Second Chance” is one of the best of the year, with a very melodic vocal line and some excellent fretwork. I've always felt that bands need to get their quick songs down before they start digging into ballad territory, and I'm happy to report that ReinXeed does both very well.
The neo-classical influence on this album is quite strong, especially on songs like the opener, “Deep Under Sea” and the aptly titled “Melody of Life”. These are also some of the strongest moments on the album, along with the driving and excellent “Neverland”. The omnipresent keyboard support and layered vocals provide a very distinct and lush sound to this album. I'm consistently surprised by how various metal bands that share so many similarities can simultaneously sound so very different from each other. ReinXeed is one more example of how this is true. Instrumentally, this might occasionally pass for Balflare, early Sonata Arctica, or perhaps even Freedom Call, but the sum of its parts makes it a considerably unique experience. For some, this will not be a good sort of unique. Tommy's voice is high, and not the most powerful, but it is refreshingly clear and coherent.
Singling out other specific tracks doesn't seem to me to serve a great deal of purpose on this particular album. My favorites are “Neverland”, “Deep Under Sea”, the title track, and “Sword in Stone”, as I find these to be the best-written and most consistently enjoyable. An aficionado of melodic power metal will fast discover that all of the material is quite pleasing, however. I see that Johansson has now added a couple of band members for future recordings and live shows, which is good news for the future of this project.
“Majestic” isn't breaking much new ground, but it's a very talented effort that showcases the talent of young Mr. Johansson. The supremely melodic vocal and guitar lines will have many fans of power metal enraptured in fairly short order, and send the rest away shaking their heads. ReinXeed's latest is an admirable effort that satisfies very fully, and I look forward to another release just like it within the next couple of years.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 8.75 out of 10