Self-released [Release date 17.12.12]
In these days of risible TV talent shows where the sole ambition of the participants is the acquisition of fame and fortune (however transient that may be), the word ‘genius’ is frequently bandied about to describe many of the screaming singers, lounge-room crooners and various other one-trick ponies.
A consequence of this is that musicians, proper musicians who genuinely qualify for said epithet, toil away in relative obscurity, plying their trade to a miniscule cognicent fanbase for small reward.
One such is Jeff Hamel, multi-instrumentalist leader of Minneapolis-based progressive rock band Majestic, whose latest outing, the double album ‘V.O.Z.’, is nothing short of a masterpiece.
From the dreamy opening instrumental ‘In Memory Of…’ and its segue into the startling piano figure of ‘VOZ 1 – New World’ it is immediately apparent that this is something more than a bit special.
In fact, ‘New World’ is just one of the myriad of highlights on this sprawling epic, where Hamel’s peerless keyboard wizardry is only challenged for supremacy by his stunning guitar work. To have one of these skills would satisfy most aspirants. Having both just smacks of greed. Oh, and he plays bass as well.
One of the masterstrokes here is the use of four different vocalists, two male, two female, who lend differing textures to the tracks as things progress.
The album’s delights unfold over the nearly two hours to leave the listener absolutely gobsmacked by the end.
Some of the progressions from gossamer-like acoustic interludes to heavy rock mayhem, from dreamy keyboard arpeggios to pounding exuberance and all stations east are simply jaw-dropping and all underpinned not only by sublime musicianship of the highest order but also an educated and insightful libretto.
Jeff Hamel (remember the name) and Majestic have put together an absolute belter of an album here which deserves to be heard by a much wider audience than it will probably get – a great shame when you consider some of the drivel that does get an audience. *****
Review by Alan Jones
Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” third Sunday of the month on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio
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In this show, first broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 2 February 2020, David Randall plays a selection of tracks from some of the artists who impressed at this year’s Giants Of Rock event in Minehead (24-27 January).
Featured Albums w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 NEWMAN Ignition (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 BLACK SWAN Shake The World (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 CORMAC O CAOIMH Swim Crawl Walk Run (indie)
Power Plays w/c 17 February (Mon-Fri)
SHAKRA Turn The Light On (AFM Records)
THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA Transmissions (Nuclear Blast)
RYDERS CREED Lost Soul (Off Yer Rocka Recordings)
FRAMING HANLEY Puzzle Pieces (Thermal Entertainment LLC)
ROBERT HART Mysterious (Escape Music)
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