Majestica – A Christmas Carol (Nuclear Blast)

Tuesday, 15th December 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

Swedish symphonic power metal act Majestica, led by vocalist/guitarist Tommy Johansson (Sabaton), return after their debut original record Above the Sky with their Christmas album A Christmas Carol. Taking on the Charles Dickens’ classic with a bevy of guest musicians to fill out the story line and instrumentation, the band incorporate some of their own original compositions along with their own interpretations of well known songs associated with the Ebenezer Scrooge story. Given the natural bombast, orchestration, and cinematic splendor already present within the band – it’s a perfect marriage to see unfold over the course of nine tracks in 41 minutes.

You can expect beyond the normal guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard instrumentation outside the ‘metal’ realm elements from tubular bells to glockenspiel and sleigh bells to create that driving, all encompassing atmosphere necessary to drive the storyline and atmosphere. Beyond all the Majestica members gaining lead vocal parts (bassist Chris David, guitarist Alex Ortiz, and drummer Joel Kollberg), we have guest singers from Veonity and Hot Beef Injection to ensure versatility and variety throughout. The normal speedy, bombastic numbers like “A Christmas Story” and “Ghost of Marley” sit side by side with more somber, reflective efforts such as “The Joy of Christmas”, the band placing the right emphasis on splendor plus wonder at the most wonderful time of the year. The choir parts and churning mid-tempo guitars make “Ghost of Christmas Present” triumphant and glorious, while the closing “A Majestic Christmas Theme” channels the spirit of the storyline with a bit of “Deck the Halls” nuances in sweeping orchestration with all the appropriate bells to make you feel the time of the season all over again.

We need more Christmas albums like A Christmas Carol in the metal landscape, as there is a market for this music given the global success of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A proper outlook and execution for Majestica, and a nice diversion that hopefully will put a lot of smiles on people’s faces.

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