We now come to the second release by Swedish power metal band Majestica which follows on from the heavy metal extravaganza that was Above The Sky. There is no real need to mention the band’s history when they were previously known as ReinXeed as this is all well known by everyone in the metal community but a quick revamp and name change can sometimes be rather re-invigorating.
Above The Sky was an excellent bombastic symphonic power metal album and a brilliant start to a new chapter in the bands history but I do not think too many expected the follow up album to be a festive opus. I suppose, though, that by now we all should expect the unexpected from band leader Tommy Johansson a man with visions on a cinematic scale indeed. To be truthful, no review is ever going to do justice to A Christmas Carol and you simply have to listen to it and make up your mind as this is another ‘Marmite’ situation, you are either going to love it or hate it.
Basically, the band has produced a Christmas musical symphonic metal album which is an amalgamation of the story of A Christmas Carol, you know, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his journey to redemption by Charles Dickens and various assorted Christmas carols. It really is a huge, ambitious and wonderfully over the top rock opera for the Christmas period and is played magnificently and with a great deal of tongue in cheek humour. Musically, the work calls to mind the power metal of Helloween, Rhapsody Of Fire and Twilight Guardian as well as the grandeur and the classical inspired, forgive the pun, majesty of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Indeed, the TSO has also produced several Christmas themed albums and A Christmas Carol seems to follow the template very closely that the TSO has set for metal meets classical music. The music features the well know characters from the story with the addition of dialogue mixed in with the sung vocals which emphasises the rock opera feel as the tale of Scrooge is revealed for us in all of its symphonic glory. There are ghosts aplenty, of course, and we all know the story so very well and Majestica adds yet another dimensional aspect to this festive story and there is a big feel good factor to the album. It is quite amazing to hear some of our favourite carols given a power metal make over and it is surprising just how well they sound in rocked up form.
I think there have been a couple of guests involved in the project too but the main contributor are , as ever, Tommy Johansson on guitar and vocals, with Alex Oriz on guitar, Chris Broad on bass and Joel Kollberg and all seem to have been involved in supplying the dialogue and orchestral parts. I love TSO and really enjoy their Christmas albums too but there is something strange about listening to Christmas music in July so, perhaps, it does limit the time period to enjoy the proceedings as, after all, who really wants to watch Polar Express in the on a hot summers evening?
However, set aside your inner Grinch or even Scrooge and immerse yourself in this wonderful mixture of power metal and Victorian morality tale. Yes, it is bonkers and totally, totally mad but that is part of the charm for this well thought out and delivered rock opera. As Tiny Tim said, ‘A Merry Christmas to us all; God Bless us, every one.
A Christmas Carol track list
- A Christmas Carol (1:44)
- A Christmas Story (5:02)
- Ghost of Marley (4:39)
- Ghost of Christmas Past (5:09)
- The Joy of Christmas (5:35)
- Ghost of Christmas Present (4:41)
- Ghost of Christmas to Come (4:26)
- A Christmas Has Come (4:50)
- A Majestic Christmas Theme (4:59)