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Review: Majestic - V.O.Z. (2012)

Artist: Majestic
Album: V.O.Z.
Year: 2012
Label: Self released

Review: Diego Camargo

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Thoughts: In the Rock world there are just a few double albums that are considered classics. Usually double albums of new material are flops or hits, no middle path.
In my personal music experience only three double albums stick to my mind as hits: Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadbess (1995), Andrew Lloyd Weber & Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) and the album that has pretty much changed my life, The Wall (1979) by Pink Floyd.

If Majestic’s new album V.O.Z. (2012) is a hit or a flop only time will tell, but one thing is certain, you need guts to release a double Prog Rock album in today’s music world. You must give them that!
Majestic is a recording project located in Minneapolis (USA) and it was created by Jeff Hamel that is the leader, writer and producer. V.O.Z. (2012) is the sixth album by them.

On V.O.Z. (2012) Jeff Hamel plays the guitars, basses and keyboards on the whole album. Mike Kosacek is responsible for the drums and percussion. The fact that there are only two musicians on it gives V.O.Z. (2012) a certain unity, even when the album has four different vocalists: David Cagle, Tara Morgan, Chris Hodges and Celine Derval. In fact, having different singers was a very clever move.
Being written and recorded during 2 years V.O.Z. (2012) has also a weird and mysterious cover made by Vladimir Moldavsky.
I have to say that when I received V.O.Z. (2012) important questions about the whole double album thing came to my mind: Is it possible to release a double CD nowadays and really be listened to? What’s the meaning of a double album these days?

As I explained in the beginning, it is quite complicated to answer that. And even if Majestic did a great job on V.O.Z. (2012) with strong compositions, high musicianship and originality, it is quite hard to pay attention to the whole.
For me an album is an album, if you know what I mean. You cannot listen to CD 1 today and CD 2 tomorrow. I sit and listen to everything. And even if V.O.Z. (2012) it’s a pleasure to listen,  it is quite complicated to sit down and go through the almost two hours of music.
Maybe it is the new times or something, but for me an album should have about 45/50 minutes. That’s the amount of time that my mind pays a close and focused attention to, more than that the music starts to vanish, little by little.


CD 1 is mainly based on the VOZ piece and divided into ten different parts. The only exception is the track one ‘In Memory Of…’ that is highly influenced by Yes, but overall Majestic’s music is quite unique and original.
The VOZ concept is based on a story about a guy named Zosimos, who sailed across the ocean to a new land. It is pretty much about the discovery of the darkness inside yourself.
Both instrumental and vocal songs flow in a fluid way throughout the first CD and because of that it’s quite hard to describe the ‘best song’. It’s a flow of excellent tracks that could be easily fit as a best album of 2012.

Then comes CD 2 and the troubles start for me. The second album is based on 7 tracks and they have no relation with the VOZ piece of the CD 1. And in that resides my problem as a listener.
The concept piece is a pleasure to hear and makes you feel comfortable with the music, there’s a flow, there’s a path. When you change the CD and you notice that the music that’s about to come has no relation to the beginning, the pleasure starts to fade away. Not that the music on the second disc is bad, far away from that. When you actually listen to it you can find pleasure in doing so.
But in my mind Majestic would be better served if they had released V.O.Z. (2012) as a single album and the second disc could be worked on as their next album. That would make things easier, but who said that Prog is an easy thing anyway!?

But don’t be discouraged by the double thing. Majestic has a unique sound. Jeff Hamel doesn’t attach himself in any subgenre within Progressive Rock, he plays all of them and with talent. In a moment you’re listening Prog Metal in the next it’s a Symphonic Prog. That makes the V.O.Z. (2012) listening experience quite unique.

This experience is just augmented when you have a superb production and great songs. And that Majestic has all the way!
If you’re not afraid of big challenges V.O.Z. (2012) is the perfect album for you!

The band was included in our Podcast #4 and you can listen the track 'VOZ I, The New World' HERE.
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