Majesties aptly convey its guitar melodies weaving their way through the shrieking vocals. And while the album captures definable moments from bands like In Flames’ classic album like “Jester Race”, Gates of Ishtar‘s “The Dawn of Flames”, The Moaning‘s “Blood From Stone” the production of the album is quite monumental. On the opening track “In Yearning, Alive” the guitar harmonies are all over the place and awash with catchy guitar hooks that are in a class of their own. In many aspects “Vast Reaches Unclaimed” seems inspired by bittersweet memories of the past bygone. First and foremost: the songs are driven by powerful dynamics and the guitar work on the album is the cream of this beautiful musical crop, Majesties combines vibrant lead guitars carving infectious rhythms within an organic song structure.
“The World Unseen” brings some rapid shifts to the tempo, the grim shrieking of the vocals contrasts with the fierce drums, and the melodies have almost a harmonious character to them. The bass guitar is layered on top of the driving riffs, and they are accompanied by thrusting drums on “The World Unseen”. Each of the ten tracks deals with enough variation, but the approach here delivers world-class quality, massive guitar melodies sate the slower sections. “Our Gracious Captors” balances out mid-tempo grooves and suffice to say that the U.S. trio has found its own niche. Having said that Majesties’ musical genius crafted intricate melodies and rhythm that are calculated by the flair of the rhythm guitars hence, bringing inspiration with aspiring sound to old-school classics a la In Flames, Gates of Ishtar and Sacrilege.
In this sense, the vocals take plenty of inspirations from the Gothenburg-styled melodic death metal, and the guitar arrangements as well as the layered solos and harmonies are perfectly infused into the chorus. Halfway through this consistent album Majesties never ceases to amaze me at the level of performance and the virtuoso technique. “Verdant Paths to Radiance” shifts the focus to the furious drums and the dramatic work of the guitars carving out some sensational melodies over the aggressive shrieking vocals and the twin guitars providing nostalgic melodies. The lead guitars on the album are just fabulous, and they encompass a multitude of styles from progressive death metal that blends melodic death and some black metal transitions. In spite of the slower moments the drums and the dazzling guitars give the album a unique and fully radiant vibe.
Even in the shorter tracks like “Across the Neverwhen” Majesties never lose their way to delivering catchy tremolo lines. The aggressive drums then set up the right amount of double bass. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that “Vast Reaches Unclaimed” is full of blazing riffage and tempo changes. The flow of the riffs maintains the rhythm and the opening chord riffs channel the melodic blackened death metal style of Dissection. “Seekers of The Ineffable” shows elements of NWOBHM in the tone of the twin guitars cleaving out some infectious earworms and there is enough emphasis on the drums and the tempos in the next song “Sidereal Spire”. The pacing of the drums complements the melodic cadence that shows how Majesties tackle aggression and yet still maintain the scathing tone of Swedish melodeath metal.
However, the drumming at times is furious and this somehow gives the album a unique character that demonstrates ferocity which goes with the vocals. “Temporal Anchor” is full of pummeling drums and the raspy outbursts of vocals contrast with the visceral guitars, the best part of this song is the use of ethereal keyboards and the melodic section.
The final two tracks “City of Nine Gates” and “Journey’s End” blend catchy guitar lines and blitzkrieg ferocity of the drums and guitars firing out blazing melodies and down-tempo grooves which seemingly add to the rampaging drums. The final track is more epic in scope, it displays the songwriting variation in refining the dynamics between the blasting drums and the memorable guitar sections leaving no question about the quality of the band’s musical effort.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 10/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 9/10
“Vast Reaches Unclaimed” is a true work of art that defines the classic Swedish melodeath metal, though the sound here might be polished it clearly delivers the aspects of the Gothenburg style.