In 2009, American progressive rock band, Majestic, released their third album Arrival. Majestic is comprised of multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hamel and vocalist Jessica Rasche. Both of them create their own brand of progressive rock that involves stepping into the progressive metal camp. The biggest difference with Majestic is that they are not clones of what‘s been released in the market. One band I‘m reminded of, when Jessica sings, is another American band called Leger De Main.
Arrival is comprised of 4 long tracks, the longest being 36 minutes and the shortest, 9 minutes. Opening this album is “Gray” (22:39) and showcases both Jeff & Jessica’s vocals. They compliment each other flawlessly here. The song flows perfectly going from full on progressive metal to progressive/space rock in the course of the track. The way the instrumentation is, reminds me a little bit of Anbeon (an Ayreon off-shoot band).
“Wish” (9:12) which is a vehicle for Jessica’s vocals. Jeff plays a softer almost acoustic guitar playing here. The song reminds me of a Wish You Were Here vibe. Next up is “Glide” (9:36). The instrumentation switched gears to a metallic guitar assault, almost a flip side of “Wish”. About 4 minutes into the song, there tempo slows down then continues on with the metallic wave. This song will satisfy most progressive metal and heavy progressive rock fans alike.
The ending song, is the title track (36:04).Aside from having the album title, this is the main focal point of the album. It also showcases how the band sounds in 2009. From it’s spacey beginning, “Arrival” takes the listener on an aural journey. While having some metallic guitar parts, especially towards the end, this is further from the progressive metal vibe the rest of the album has. This song alone is, to me, what the Majestic output is all about (in 2009). I was told by Jeff that the next album will have a different sound.
In closing both Jeff & Jessica create what has become a favorite of mine. Had I received this back in 2009, it would surely grace my favorites of that year, hands down. If you like long epic lengthy tracks and a fan of Pink Floyd and the spacier side of Ayreon then Arrival is the album you need in your collection. With excellent instrumentation and vocals, Arrival gets a high recommendation!
Clover, a 4 part suite was recorded after Arrival, and are a seperate enitiy, I felt it important to mention Clover here within this review. According to Jeff, he wanted to have some shorter peices of music to show what Majestic was all about. It was also recorded while Jeff & Jessica were contributing to the Proximal Distance project (which has been reviewed here). The Clover suite is available as a FREE downlaod on the Majestic website. If you're already a fan of the band or even a newbie (such as myself) this would a perfect starting point within the Majestic catalog.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on May 31st, 2010