Ukrainian Progressive Metallers Majesty Of Revival launched their long-awaited fifth album Pinnacle via Massive Sound Recordings recently. I say long-awaited because the album was being worked on in the studio for almost two years during Covid, and then a certain Mr. Putin put another rather hefty spanner in the works. For fans of Symphony X, Sonata Arctica, Waltari, Faith No More, the band themselves are defined by heavy guitar riffs, strong melodies, versatile vocals and solid instrumentals.
For Pinnacle the band has also brought in a number of well-known guest musicians: Kartsy Hatakka from Waltari, David Readman from Pink Cream 69/Adagio and Volodymyr Schobak, a trumpeter from a Ukrainian legendary folk-rock band 308 (Trystavysim). The band have also been very creative with new videos in the run-up to the album’s release, all backing singles and all getting decent air-play and viewings.
Pinnacle consists of 13 cross-genre and progressive compositions, filled with imaginative stories designed to make one not only listen but feel the music. Having absorbed the album, I can concur, this is an accomplished all-round production, the band are a really tight-knit unit.
The full line-up on here is as follows:
Dimitriy Pavlovskiy – guitars, vocals
Vitalii Popfalushi – bass, vocals
Myroslav Danko – guitars, vocals
Maestone – keyboards, backing vocals
Marvin – drums
Guest appearances from:
David Readman – vocals on “Mindcrime”
Kärtsy Hatakka – vocals on “Fool”
Vasil Dovganych – guitars on “Fool”
Volodymyr Shchobak – trumpet sections on “Fool”
Veronika Shestakova – violin on “Deliverance”
Anzhelika Zyzych – female voice on “Things Are Not What They Seem”
The album opens, appropriately enough, with Open! – and you’re straight away into high-octane riffs and chord progressions, akin to Avenged Sevenfold, that calibre of pacey, mesmeric fretwork (see the first video below), I’m not completely sure whether this is Dimitriy or Myroslav but they made me sit up, this is seriously fretnetic stuff! And I particularly like the way it fades away with some wonderful piano work, more of that and on that later! You Have A Message [Welcome To GULAG] continues the relentless pace, I’m not completely sure about the vocals here but let’s see…Rebellion has a hint of Hymn about the combination of piano intro followed by crashing chords, it’s a whopper of a riff and the slower darker pace works really well. Smoother vocals hit the spot, then some short but fiery licks top it – this is anthemic material!
Mindcrime features David Readman, a young German on vocals from the bands Voodoo Circle and Pink Cream 69. Again a haunting keys intro leads you into the song before the pyrotechnics begin. Sizzling riffing and a steamroller beat set the stage for David to regale us – very much in the mould of and Joe Elliott of Def Leopard and Rob Halford of Judas Priest, that level of Heavy Metal. It’s all right! Fool is next, this time featuring Kärtsy Hatakka the Finnish singer and bassist from Helsinki’s very own Waltari. He’s also known for several film soundtracks, and the song has almost a big band sound to it, you can imagine this being a wide-screen production. It starts off very differently from the first few tracks, the brass section returning between Kärtsy’s and Vasil’s vocal interplay. A fascinating change!
Deliverance is next, bringing us back into classic heavy rock mode, twin guitars, big-stage vocals, this is all good stuff. At All Cost features a gentle, intricate piano intro that I love, it’s a slow ballad and really displays Maesto’s keyboard skills to perfection. Dig Me Up [Bury Me Part II] is back in rock mode, but a stylishly different choppy, staccato rhythm. Citylights is back into Classic Rock mode to start with before the twist of almost whispered vocals, back to power chords, power chants, there’s almost too much variety in this album, you never know what the next 60 seconds is going to hit you with!
Stone is the album’s longest track at six and a half minutes, very Rammstein before at least two other different singers zap you – there’s so many people on this album I’ve lost track of who does what but it’s all good, if just a little too condensed / trying too hard at times? There’s more hints of Hymn in Guardians, I’m a sucker for that style of bright, tinkling piano work. The last track, Overcome?, is then a complete surprise – acoustic guitar picking forming the basis for a beautiful, slow ballad that brings to mind Michael Hutchings at his most mellow. I love this, I’m half expecting a train-crash of a chord to suddenly marmalize me, but no, it stays gentle, controlled, perfectly pitched. An odd but very effective ending for an accomplished album.