Review: Majesties ‘Vast Reaches Unclaimed’

As a fairly focussed old school death metal fan, the Swedish melodic death metal scene is a genre that I respect, but don’t necessarily love. So I was surprised when I enjoyed Majesties as much as I did. Vast Reaches Unclaimed is a passionate and ethereal album, delivered through elegant melodies, gritty chugs and furious drumming.

Majesties 'Vast Reaches Unclaimed'

While there are lots of comparisons made to the mighty No Fashion Records, In Flames and so on, Tanner Anderson, Carl Skildum and Matthew Kirkwold have resolutely developed their own sound. The influence of Obsequiae, which members of Majesties are involved in, is very clear, albeit with less of the lofty noble power. Vast Reaches Unclaimed is much more hot-blooded by comparison.

That said, the Gothenburg scene is undeniably in the mix. Seekers Of The Ineffable is a great example of the band showing their influences while putting it through their own sonic kaleidoscope via Anderson and Skildum’s distinct, sophisticated guitar tone. The World Unseen is arguably the standout track on the album, with ornate melodies and drum fills shifting from vicious intensity to exalted, colourful breakdowns. This is much more than a repackaged melo-death album and Anderson’s drumming in particular deserves praise for the snare hits alone.

Impressively, the band delivers a lot of atmosphere directly through their songwriting. Majesties take you on their brutal journey through the landscape shown on the cover art. The track titles are also authentic to the genre, like Verdant Paths To Radiance and Sidereal Spire, which can all feel very grand and even a bit power metal, however, the sound they deliver says otherwise.

Seekers Of The Ineffable is a great example of the band showing their influences while putting it through their own sonic kaleidoscope…

The no-frills triplets that lie underneath the spiralling melodies and driving double kick drums leave the impression that the members have a very forceful connection to the meaning behind the subject matter. These are not just placeholders. There is a worldwide, shared cultural heritage of endurance; just about every person is the result of the struggles and fortitude of the people that came before them.

We tell stories to connect and build shared experiences and for memory. These guys have abstracted the stories but made them their own and very real, supercharging the experience with their forceful musicianship. It’s a really impressive debut for this project.

20 Buck Spin keeps knocking it out of the park with their releases at the moment, so it’s no surprise they grabbed Majesties with both hands and Vast Reaches Unclaimed is out now.

Label: 20 Buck Spin
Band Links: Instagram

Scribed by: James Bullock