Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Metal

Majesties – Vast Reaches Unclaimed (Review)

Bands: Majesties
Release: Vast Reaches Unclaimed
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Country: USA
Release Date:3rd of March, 2023
Released via20 Buck Spin
Cover ArtworkJunajo Castellano

The moment you’ll press play on the first track “In Yearning, Alive” of Majesties’ first full length LP Vast Reaches Unclaimed, chances are great you will feel nostalgic like it’s 1996 again. With the buzz created by its pre-released singles (opener “In Yearning, Alive”, “The World Unseen” and “Our Gracious Captors”) foreshadowing the release of this album, a lot of people have been curious how Majesties’ full-length debut will hold up against the high standards set by these impressive highlights. But master mind Tanner Anderson (guitars, vocals and drums) accompained by Carl Skildrum (Guitars) and Matthew Kirkwold (Bass) managed to release an album that will surely leave a lasting impression on anyone who listens to it.

While highly unoriginal in its general soundscape, which has been pioneered over twenty years ago by torchbearers such as At The Gates, Dark Tranquility and In Flames, the execution on Vast Reaches Unclaimed is simply to die for. If you’re familiar with the aforementioned groups or the infamous Gothenburg sound in general, you should be thinking of a timeline where Thomas Lindberg joined In Flames after Lunar Strain to get a great picture of how this album sounds. Throw in a little Melodic Black Metal influence in the vein of Dissection or Necrophobic for good measure and that’s it. The guitar interplay between Anderson and Skildrum is extremely proficient with tons of memorable twin harmonies, brief acoustic sections (see “Across the Neverwhen”) and exceptional solo work throughout the album’s total run time of 38 minutes. The approach Majesties took here is rather puristic and bears no moden Metal traits such as clean vocals or dominant synth work. 25 years ago, Vast Reaches Unclaimed woud have been right at home on No Fashion Records and Wrong Again (if you’re owning a physical copy you may even find some nice little hommage to those labels on the artwork) with its thrilling no bullshit approach presented here.

Now with the album’s most infectious songs being released as singles, one could assume that there is not much more to be found here but thankfully Majesties keep things interesting by adding more nuanced structures and do not rely on catchy hooks akin to later Soilwork or In Flames exclusively. This is emphasized by the album’s later cuts such as closer “Journey’s End” where fast riffs, blast beats and rhytmic shifts keep the song interesting from start to finish before it ends with a soothing acoustic outro. The album’s impact is also aided by its pristine production job which carries just enough grit to highlight the songs agressiveness while transferring the melodic sections deeply into your brain.

With Vast Reaches Unclaimed, Majesties manage to take the subgenres past and transform it into an early album of the year contender for everyone craving for old school 90’s Melodic Death Metal. It will be more than interesting to see if Majesties will dare to go beyond back to the future from here.

Vast Reaches Unclaimed by Majesties

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