Category Archives: Review

Review (French) from NeoProg.eu (4/5 Stars)- Instrumental Collection – “Instrumental Collection is a very good compilation, not a single boring moment, it makes you want to dive into the other albums from Majestic.”

 

Chronique de Instrumentals Collection

(English Translation below)

Original Link

Majestic-
Genre CD
Groupe Majestic
Album Instrumentals Collection
Label autoproduction
Année 2015
Achat
Note
  • Spirits Dwell – instrumental
  • Dance of the Elders – instrumental
  • The Journey Back – instrumental
  • Modus Operandi 7 – instrumental
  • Becoming (Reprise) – instrumental
  • Astral Dream – instrumental
  • Rise to the Surface – instrumental
  • Skies Clear – instrumental
  • Doorways – instrumental
  • Hyperbole – instrumental
Invités :Mike Kosacek – Batterie
John Wooten – batterie (sur 2 & 6)
Celine Derval – chant (sur 5)
Jessica Rasche – chant (sur 6)Majestic est un projet solo rétro progressif fondé en 2006 à Minneapolis par Jeff Hamel. Prog symphonique, psychédélique, atmosphérique, voila le programme avec sept albums à son actif.

Instrumental Collection est une compilation des morceaux instrumentaux composés par Jeff sur ses précédents albums. Elle est sortie le 1er janvier 2015 sur Bandcamp. Dix morceaux explorant bien des facettes du rock progressif des 70’s à nos jours et plus de soixante-dix minutes de musique très variée de fait.

Majestic

Jeff est multi-instrumentaliste, la seule chose qu’il ne fait pas, c’est chanter. Avec lui, Mike Kosacek et John Wooten à la batterie et deux voix sur “Becoming” avec Celine Derval et sur “Astral Dream”, Jessica Rasche. Claviers, guitares et basse sont joués par Jeff.

J’avais téléchargé l’album par curiosité, histoire d’y jeter une oreille, et puis, un après-midi pluvieux, j’ai écouté le disque d’un bout à l’autre et décidé qu’il fallait le chroniquer. A la base, le prog instrumental, ça ne m’emballe que moyennement, décrochant trop vite par manque de rebondissements. Là, comme il s’agit d’une compilation, les morceaux n’ont pas de lien entre eux, vous parcourez la carrière de J. Hamel, un voyage temporel et musical, avec de nombreux styles qui se succèdent et qui par le fait, est très varié.

Progressif, jazzy, psychédélique, cinématique, alternatif, métal progressif, les univers parcourus sont nombreux.
“Spirits Dwell”, après un démarrage prog, vous convie à du rock atmosphérique. “Dance of the Elders”, tiré de Ataraxia, emprunte des éléments de folk transposés à la guitare façon Mike Oldfield. Le titre est plus remuant sans se déchaîner quand même et vers la seconde moitié, il vire au psyché expérimental bon enfant. Huit minutes riches de rebondissements. Avec “Journey Home”, on vire au rétro prog avec un bon gros son des familles et une partition à la batterie de très bonne facture. “Modus Operandi 7” est dans la veine du canterbury avec son piano et sa guitare jazzy, encore une fois la batterie de Mike brille de mille feux. Il y a quelque chose de Porcupine Tree dans la partie rythmique, virtuose et réellement excellente. “Becoming” est l’une des rares pièces où le chant fait brièvement une apparition avec la voix de Celine Derval (du groupe Scythia). Sur “Astral Dream” c’est Jessica Rache que l’on entend, là également très brièvement à la fin du morceau. “Rise to the Surface” prend son temps, une pièce qui met pas loin de trois minutes à culminer, guitares et claviers à l’honneur. Il ne s’achève pas vraiment et se poursuit sur “Skies Clear”, le petit morceau de cette compilation, un titre dans l’esprit de Vangelis, tiré de l’album V.O.Z.. “Doorways” provient de Epsilon. Un morceau cinématique où la guitare est en avant pour une fois. “Hyperbole”, qui clôt ce recueil, est le titre métal progressif, tiré lui aussi de V.O.Z., c’est également la piste la plus longue, rien en comparaison de “Red Ships” qui termine le même album.

Instrument Collection est une très bonne compilation, pas ennuyeuse un seul instant, elle donne envie de se plonger dans les autres albums de Majestic. A découvrir gratuitement en mp3 128 sur le site de Majestic et pour les audiophiles, vous l’aurez avec un bon son pour cinq dollars sur Bandcamp.

Site : http://www.majesticsongs.com/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Majestic-Songs/182918543056

Bancamp :

Translated by google:

Majestic is a progressive retro solo project founded in 2006 in Minneapolis by Jeff Hamel. Symphonic prog, psychedelic, atmospheric, here is the program with seven albums to his credit. Instrumental Collection is a compilation of instrumental pieces composed by Jeff on his previous albums. It was released on January 1, 2015 on Bandcamp. Ten pieces exploring many facets of the progressive rock of the 70’s to today and over seventy minutes of music is very varied. Jeff is a multi-instrumentalist, the only thing it does not do is sing. With him, Mike and John Wooten Kosacek on drums and two voices “Becoming” with Celine Derval and “Astral Dream”, Jessica Rasche. Keyboards, guitars and bass are played by Jeff. I downloaded the album out of curiosity, just to throw an ear there and then, one rainy afternoon, I listened to the disc from one end to the other and decided that it had to review. Basically, the instrumental prog, it does excites me moderately, winning too fast for lack of twists. There, as it is a compilation, the songs have no link between them, browsing the career of J. Hamel, a temporal and musical journey, with many styles which follow and by the fact , is very varied. Progressive, jazzy, psychedelic, kinematics, alternative, progressive metal, universes covered are numerous. “Spirits Dwell” after starting a prog, invites you to the atmospheric rock. “Dance of the Elders”, taken from Ataraxia, borrows folk elements transposed guitar so Mike Oldfield. The title is stirring lash anyway and towards the second half, he turns good-experimental psyche. Eight minutes rich twists. With “Journey Home”, it turns retro prog with a big sound families and a partition to the battery of very good quality. “Modus Operandi 7″ is in the vein of Canterbury with its piano and jazzy guitar, again battery Mike sparkles. There is something Porcupine Tree in the rhythm, virtuoso and really excellent. “Becoming” is one of the few parts where singing briefly an appearance with the voice of Celine Derval (from Scythia group). On “Astral Dream” is Jessica Rache is meant also there very briefly at the end of the song. “Rise to the Surface” takes its time, a piece that not put away three minutes to peak, guitars and keyboards in the spotlight. It does not really completed and continues on “Clear Skies”, the small piece of this compilation, a title in the spirit of Vangelis, taken from the album VOZ. “Doorways” comes from Epsilon. A cinematic piece where the guitar is ahead for once. “Hyperbole” which closes this collection, is the progressive metal title shot him also VOZ, it is also the longest run, nothing compared to “Red Ships” which ends the album.Instrument Collection is a very good compilation, not a single boring moment, it makes you want to dive into the other albums from Majestic. Discover free mp3 128 on the Majestic site and audiophiles, you will have good sound for five dollars on Bandcamp.

Majestic’s Epsilon Scores 8 out of 10 at DPRP!!! – “This is a very good album indeed and definitely worth checking out.”

dprp
Majestic – Epsilon I
Majestic - Epsilon I
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Format: CD
Record Label: independent
Catalogue #:  
Year of Release: 2014
Time: 54:41
Info: Majestic
Samples: Majestic website
Track List:
Chariots (11:10), Mother Dearest (9:29), Starlight (10:20), Epsilon I. Event Horizon (8:42), Epsilon II. Doorways (7:38), Epsilon III. Samskaras (7:22)

Jeff Hamel was the former guitarist in the American metal band Osmium in the 80s. The band existed for about ten years and after that Jeff took a long break from music. After that break he was fully charged again and ready to entertain everyone with his newly written material.

That music turned out to be quite progressive. It resulted in the album Descension (2007) and since then he has released a new album almost every year! In 2014 that has lead to the release of Epsilon I. The second part of this musical story called, surprisingly enough, Epsilon II will also be released this year. On the first Epsilon album, multi-instrumentalist Hamel (guitar, bass and keys) is assisted by his loyal companions Mike Kosacek (drums) and the vocalists David Cagle (Liberty & Justice), Celine Derval (Scythia) and Chris Hodges (Every Living Soul), who were also present on the 2012 album V.O.Z.

On this album, a vocalist we all know joins the ranks: Marc Atkinson (Riversea, Nine Stones Close andMandalaband). Hamel gets his inspiration from artists like Pink Floyd, Mike Oldfield, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Black Sabbath, Ayreon, The Alan Parsons Project and Joe Satriani. This leads to a mixture of styles such as progressive rock, metal, psychedelic rock, space rock and folk music. The songs all have a playing time from seven to more than eleven minutes, so there is plenty of time to mix all those influences in one track. Most important, what about this album? Is it any good? The answer to that question is a definite ‘Yes’.

Chariots is the first and longest track on the album and the track I like the least, mainly because I like the other vocalists more than Chris Hodges.

Mother Dearest has the typical organ sounds like bands in the 60s and 70s and on this track Celine Derval, the only female lead vocalist on the album, delights us with strong vocals. It develops into a quite heavy rock song, with psychedelic elements and towards the end there’s a nice sing-along chorus.

Starlight is the track where we can hear the pleasant voice of Marc Atkinson together with atmospheric sounds on the keyboards. His voice alone takes this track to an even higher level. In the last minutes of the track, Hamel gets some time to showcase his skills on guitar before the song fades out with the whispering voice of Atkinson.

The last three tracks can be seen as one title track. It’s a combination of the excellent singer David Cagle, some beautiful keyboard sounds and some stunning soloing on guitar by Hamel, especially in Epsilon II and III. Furthermore the recording sounds great, so we can conclude that Hamel has succeeded in making another great album that will be enjoyed by many proggers.

Conclusion: 8.5 out of 10

Majestic – Epsilon II
Majestic - Epsilon 2
Country of Origin: USA
Format: CD
Record Label: Majestic Songs
Catalogue #: n/a
Year of Release: 2014
Time: 62:00
Info: Majestic
Samples: Majestic at Bandcamp
Track List:
Epsilon IV – Generations (5:32), Epsilon V – The River (Eridanus) (10:30), Epsilon VI – Incandescence (7:49), Epsilon VII – Ancient Echo (5:12), Epsilon VIII – The Journey Back (6:10), Epsilon IX – Welcome Home (2:15), Epsilon X – Convergence (11:55), Epsilon XI – Rise (6:38) , Epsilon XII – Fade (6:07)

Having my own modest home studio, I’m always amazed at the quality of musicianship and compositional skills of basically amateur “bedroom musicians” who are just as good, or even better, than those who make a professional living out of music.

The main man behind this musical project, Jeff Hamel, is no exception. He is one very gifted musician and songsmith. Jeff is part of a recording project called Proximal Distance where he and fellow musician Gregg Johns (Slychosis) can collaborate over the internet. Check out http://www.progressiverockbr.com/monthaprilproximaldistance2010.html for more information.

It is hard to pigeon-hole this Minneapolis musical effort in terms of the progressive genre. It is an accretion of musical styles and influences, ranging from symphonic through to heavy metal, prog metal. I can hear shades ofTransatlantic, Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater. Neo-prog is probably the closest genre but there are many hues of symphonic and space rock sprinkled throughout as well.

Until having to review this CD, I’d never heard of Majestic. This is the second of a two-part space odyssey that’s loosely based upon the star Epsilon which forms part of the Eridanus (The River) constellation. The two CD concept tells the story of a primitive civilisation that worships its sun and discovers that its roots are from another, very distant world whose sun caused their demise. According to Jeff there are some other meanings built into the lyrics but it’s up to the listener to interpret them and to formulate their own meaning.

I think it was Magenta‘s Rob Reed who said that a great prog track can be reduced to a mediocre rendering, if an average vocal is used for the music. This is a mistake made by many “one man” bands. With Majestic this is thankfully not the case since the vocals on Epsilon 2 are bordering on excellent. There are three vocalists used on this album: Chris Hodges, Jessica Rasche and David Cagle.

Jessica sings lead vocals on track 6, the shortest song on the album, which reminded me of Mostly Autumn. A simple, melodic ballad which also features good harmonies over a busy guitar solo. Jessica has a very fine voice but I think using Chris and David as the main singers, gives the album some extra gravitas.

Chris appears to get the lion’s share of singing duties and has lead vocals on tracks 2, 3, 7 and 8 – and boy does he have a great voice. For example in track 7, Epsilon X – Convergence he sings a beautiful, heart-felt delivery as if the lyrics have some personal meaning. This song is exceptional neo-prog. It slowly builds into a crescendo of sound with some great guitar playing before suddenly entering a sort of jazzy interlude, before the crescendo resumes with more menace: aggressive sounding vocals, power chords over good drumming. This, for me, is the best track on the album.

David sings on two tracks: 4 and 7. Once again his is another great voice. I don’t know how Jeff chooses between them for singing duties. Track 4 opens with cinematic synth strings before David enters. Once again a superb vocal delivery that simply takes this song up a few notches. In parts he is accompanied by electric piano and jangly guitar. The songs end with some very neat percussion. A great track.

There is plenty of scintillating guitar work from Jeff throughout the album. Probably the best, is his solo in track 7, which just fits the music perfectly and enters at the right moment. On keys, Jeff is very competent but personally I would have appreciated more up-front synth and organ solos in the vein of Neal Morse. Jeff conjures up some great atmospheric and aural delights on all of the songs with his guitar and keyboard playing.

Mike Kosacek’s drumming is very good on this album and it certainly adds to the dynamics of the material. He excels in many songs but for me his best work is in track 8. This song is probably the rockiest of the album and features more great guitar work from Jeff. Not my favourite track, but I can see other progsters who like Deep Purple andRush enjoying this song. Although the bass playing is OK over the whole album, and on a negative note, I felt it was a bit subdued and never really given any prominence in the mix. It would have been great to hear some Geddy Lee type bass runs to give the music some more gravitas.

Although Track 1 has the type pf symphonic opening that a band like Transatlantic would be proud of, it then enters a prolonged heavy power chord-driven phase which would have worked for me if the drumming and bass playing had been a bit more inventive to keep me interested.

Initially, while listening to the first track, I thought that this band was going to be a contradiction in musical terms, in the sense that they weren’t sure what they were or wanted to be and thus I was going to be disappointed. However, everything that followed made for enjoyable listening.

This is a very good album indeed and definitely worth checking out. I take my hat off to Jeff, and his efforts to create something very magical. As for the old DPRP neo-prog-come-symphonic Prog-o-meter, I score this a very respectable 8.

Conclusion: 8 out of 10

 

V.O.Z. Review appears in Progressive Newsletter #77 – “This is a very colorful and varied album – more of this, please!”

PNL

 

 

PNL 77

 

MAJESTIC – VOZ  (58:10, 58:51, 2012, Private)

 

When this album had been in my CD player for the first time, I thought I was listening to some kind of sampler CD with bands playing in different musical genres. But I was completely wrong. („Far from it“.)  I am talking about a band with the name MAJESTIC, and the term „band“ is not really correct, because in principle this is a duo providing an enormously fat sound sometimes reminding me of the Dutch band Ayreon. It is even less, because  you can reduce it to one name who’s behind this project: Jeff Hamel. The music this American multi-talent is offering earns my highest respect. Hats off!  First of all Hamel is an excellent guitarist, playing varied styles and being a great performer in all these different genres. The keyboards are perfectly fitting – no surprise, because it’s Hamel himself also playing the keys. Next bonus (or asset?): the rhythm is not being programmed, instead there’s an excellent drummer named Mike Kosacek. Moreover, there are four singers being responsible for the vocal parts. Voices are good and another element making this a good album. CD1 starts with a spheric intro and a slight keltic influence – indeed sounding somehow „majestic“.  The rest of the CD consists of the title track which is separated into ten sections. Whether you take this song or the complete second CD – the variety of the presented stuff is really impressive. There’s mainstream AOR with catchy melodies, excursions into prog-metal genre, powerful symphonic rock, fusion, psychedelic rock, space rock – you get it all. And it does not sound like pure chaos, in contrast this is put together in a very clever way.

Just as an example: let’s take the song „hyperbole“ from CD 2. At the beginning it reminds me a lot of PORCUPINE TREE, in a later section it sounds completely different, like a new version of an instrumental excursion within the legendary „solar music“ song by German krautrock legend GROBSCHNITT. This is a very colourful and varied album – more of this, please!

 

 

(11)

Jürgen Meurer 

Review – V.O.Z. – Your Music Blog – “It is just as if all this variety takes you on a journey and makes you dream of distant shores (or whatever your favourite destination is) and you just never wanna leave…”

Original Link

 

blog

 

Majestic, V.O.Z., 2012

Published January 23, 2013 | By Peter Cox

majestic - v.o.z.

American musician (guitars and keyboards) Jeff Hamel serves up another tasty bite of what is maybe best described as ambient progressive rock. And it is not that my project Forest Field operates in about the same field, that I like this. No, Jeff has been releasing albums for quite some time now and this double disk shows how accomplished he is. Together with Mike Kosacek on drums and percussion and vocalists David Cagle, Tara Morgan, Chris Hodges and Celine Derval, these two compact disks feature a wide range of songs with a lot of shifts in style and moods. Short songs or epics, all material is as good as it sounds.

And where I sometimes complain that epics feel patched, Hamel´s body of work always is organic and logical. Which is absolutely not the same as predictable. Despite of all the mood shifts and influences I got sucked in right away. The quiet parts are often hauntingly beautiful and send shivers down your spine. And it does not matter if it is instrumental or vocal! Also the more rocking bits still fit the overall feel of the album. It is just as if all this variety takes you on a journey and makes you dream of distant shores (or whatever your favourite destination is) and you just never wanna leave…

So very impressed by this music and I fully recommend it to people into progressive rock and or more ambient sounds.

 

Review – Arrival from Prog-résiste issue 59 – “Arrival is, I think, what prog should be”

Arrival Review PDF

Translated via Google.

Arrival cover

Majestic
Arrival
Mals – 77’32 – USA ’09 Progressive
OD9 e-AW7 make no mistake,
Arrival is the third album from Majestic. This is, unfortunately, the first album, Descension, this group (then) consists of a single man, Jeff Hamel, was recently published as a CD. He had never been so far favors a real pressing and had been offered to the ears of fans of the Majestic project in the form of a CD-R. Third album and therefore slight change of course for Jeff Hamel. Shift because for the first time, Arrival, Jeff indulges without restraint and without direction making music he loves, and it shows in well, let’s immediately. For this third installment, he Deputy longer support a singer, Jessica Rasche, whose vocal qualities, do not hesitate to say, will blend compositions Hamel. Arrival is an album markedly different from its two predecessors. We feel most successful and free of any constraint. The album begins with a very long piece over 22 minutes. Prog fans, you’re already used immediately! Gray is a long composition that flirts between Pink Floyd (with beautiful guitar solos very Gilmouriens) Porcupine Tree (its trippy atmospheres and melancholic) and Ayreon through the beautiful voice of Jessica timbre similar to that of Anneke van Giersbergen and Metal guitar riffs to Lucassen. Gray is followed by two shorter titles, Wish and Glide, the first in Pop-Rock tone, and the second rocked by metal riffs, classic but effective where again, singing Rasche shows the great talent of this artist. The album ends with another long composition more than 36 minutes (really, if you want a concept album, there has to ask), Arrival, the title which gives its name to the album (you will note in passing that if the compositions are long against their securities are concise enough …). Arrival is, I think, what prog should be: a long piece, varied, rich in different atmospheres, jerking breaks, all on complex melodies. One could cite several references to the listening of this title as Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Genesis, Ayreon, Yes, I could go on and best. But what emerges is qu’Arrival is a splendid composition as actually Prog ultimately less. The third test Jeff Hamel is a great achievement that I advise you to listen!
http / / www.majesticsongs.com
Alex Willem