Black Majesty - Sands Of Time
Limb Music Products
Heavy / Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (55'30)
Release year: 2003
Black Majesty, Limb Music Products
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Australia's Black Majesty has really been making some noise in their homeland over the last several years and Limb Music must have been impressed with their now sold out 3 song sampler CD as they signed the band to a 5 album deal. A few of our Australian readers here at Metal Reviews have been raving about this band in the forums section and the comments about them really peaked my interest. I recently got a copy of their new full-length debut CD and it certainly lives up to the expectations I had about them.

Black Majesty is a power metal band and although they have a melodic style, it's not the big happy choir-like chorus style that we hear to excess from a lot of the European bands. They play more of a classic heavy metal style with a blend of U.S. power metal, melodic 80's metal, classic Iron Maiden and enough Helloween, Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian influences with the speediness to give the band a modern sound. They are a band that blends many styles, has lots of variety in their songs and do so without ripping off any other well-established bands. The overall tone of a few tracks has a classic Queensryche feel with the guitar tone and the Geoff Tate vocal style and lead singer John Cavaliere has the sort of voice that many bands playing this genre of metal would kill for. Combining the style of Roy Khan (Kamelot) with a more grittier tone along the likes of Dirk Thurisch (Angel Dust) and the melodic styles of Glenn Hughes and Doogie White (Yngwie Malmsteen, Cornerstone), he has a very versatile voice that works well when multi-tracked for the chorus sections. Songs like Journey's End and Beyond Reality use the kind of vocal layering reminiscent of Uriah Heep from the 70's.

Black Majesty's carefully calculated use of speedy drums and muted guitars is a very effective way of invoking drama and heightens the impact on the music, unlike other bands that over-use those sorts of passages. Most tracks have a great charging sound with a very effective verse/pre-chorus/chorus style and the abundance of harmonized leads and melodic harmony thirds shows the Maiden influence on this band. With most tracks, the band mixes quieter passages with pounding heavy riffing and usually ends up getting speedy and fast for the chorus sections or for other instrumental passages mid-song. Journey's End, with it's mix of tempo changes, speedy muted riffing and fast drumming, sounds very much like something from Helloween's Master of The Rings album. With tracks like Colliding Worlds and No Sanctuary, the band infuses a more dramatic flair with keyboard orchestrations and a decidedly Iron Maiden or Savatage tone. Beyond Reality bears some resemblance to The Evil That Men Do (Iron Maiden) with the guitar style but mixes up tempos very well. The band even does a decent job with a power ballad on the track Lady Of The Lake. Mixing quiet piano passages and heavier exploding power chord riffs, the create a solid track that has another characteristically solid chorus.

I really enjoyed this album. It may lack some originality, but this is a very solid band that plays a great brand of melodic power metal; heavy enough for the Iced Earth, Brainstorm type of power metal fans but also with the melody and harmony of the European power metal bands to satisfy fans of that genre. Influences from classic metal bands like Maiden, Queensryche and Savatage give the band a dramatic and exciting style. The only real fault with this album is that after 4 or 5 tracks, the band seems to follow a standard songwriting formula and as a result, an album that is full of great sounding songs, has only a few that stand out above the rest. The choruses start to sound similar to each other and the only thing to give some of the songs a unique identity are the tempo changes and instrumental sections. Overall, a great new band from Australia and one that I'm sure will mature into something special. Since most of the bigger metal bands don't seem to want to tour Australia, the only way for them to experience great metal is to "grow their own" so to speak..and this is pretty high quality.

Killing Songs :
Fall Of The Reich, Legacy, Sands Of Time and Journey's End
Marty quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Black Majesty that we have reviewed:
Black Majesty - Stargazer reviewed by Chris and quoted 80 / 100
Black Majesty - In Your Honour reviewed by Erik and quoted 74 / 100
Black Majesty - Tomorrowland reviewed by Marty and quoted 79 / 100
Black Majesty - Silent Company reviewed by Marty and quoted 79 / 100
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