Review (French/English) – Epsilon 1 – 4.5/5 Profile Progressive Radio -”Another proof that MAJESTIC is part of the great progressive world. “Epsilon 1″ is a must, everything on this album is good. “

CD Review

From Profile Radio 

Epsilon 1

MAJESTIC – Epsilon 1 – Autoproduction – 2014

Par Richard Hawey

 

French:

Un peu plus d’un an après le grandiose album double « V.O.X. » Jeff HAMEL leader de MAJESTIC, récidive avec cette fois avec un album simple. Mais ne vous y tromper pas car il s’agit là que du premier volet car « Epsilon 2 » est prévu pour le mois d’août 2014. Le chant est encore une fois tenue par Chris HODGES, Celine DERVAL et David CAGLE eux qui étaient présents sur « V.O.X. ». Et ce n’est pas tout, la présence du chanteur invité Mark ATKINSON (Riversea, Nine Stones Close) sur « Starlight » est à noter. Le concept de l’album tourne autour d’une odyssée spatiale et de l’étoile Epsilon, partie intégrante de la galaxie Eridanus. Pour en savoir plus sur ce sujet je vous suggère de vous rendre sur le site de MAJESTIC ou de faire une recherche sur le net. Pour l’instant je me concentrerai sur le principal sujet de cette chronique, « Epsilon 1 ».

Nous avons assisté au cours des dernières années à une progression hallucinante de la musique de MAJESTIC et de son pilier central Jeff HAMEL et cela continue avec cette production. L’album ouvre sur « Chariots » une chanson où les claviers sont très présents soutenus par une guitare agressive. Le chant de Chris HODGES se colle parfaitement à l’ensemble. Le second titre « Mother Dearest » est chanté par Celine DERVAL et elle est aussi lourde que la précédente. Les claviers et la guitare augmentent la rythmique déjà bien sentie de Mike KOSACEK. La voix de Celine est envoutante et énergique. Les différentes atmosphères tourbillonnent jusqu’à une accalmie comme si nous voyageons dans le temps sans effort. La finale est à retenir. Changement d’ambiance avec « Starlight », c’est le chant de Mark ATKINSON qui prend le relai et pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas ce chanteur, il est l’une des merveilleuse voix du rock progressif contemporain. Sur « Starlight » son chant est mélancolique et rempli d’émotion, proche de Steve HOGGARTH. Les synthétiseurs maintiennent l’ambiance flottante qui nous fait passer à un niveau supérieur étape par étape.  Les incursions de guitare de Jeff HAMEL nous donnent la chair de poule à un niveau supérieur. Dix minutes d’un grand bonheur et d’une beauté très profonde. Vient la suite « Epsilon » divisée en trois parties « Event Horizon », « Doorways » et « Samskaras ». Plus de vingt-quatre minutes pour un formidable voyage symphonique. « Event Horizon » est la plus longue du trio et elle donne le ton pour le voyage imminent où nous convie Jeff HAMEL. Sa guitare aux sonorités bluesy tisse une mélodie habile et dense qui définira l’univers d’Epsilon. Le thème musical principal est mené par les synthétiseurs terriblement éblouissante, ajouté à cela la voix du nouveau chanteur David CAGLE et sa voix impressionnante. La seconde partie « Doorways » est instrumentale, et bienvenue au mellotron et à la guitare. C’est un moment très intense. En clôture, « Samskaras » qui annonce un retour au thème de la première partie avec une guitare basse bien appuyée. David CAGLE y offre une nouvelle fois une performance digne de mention.

Le son de MAJESTIC est grandiose et tout simplement prenant. Une autre preuve que MAJESTIC fait parti des grands du monde progressif. « Epsilon 1 » est un incontournable, tout sur cet album est bon. Au fil des années je suis devenu un grand fan de ce musicien, si ce n’est pas déjà fait, savourez chaque seconde de ce premier volet, vous le deviendrez. Merci Jeff!

English (Translated by Google):

A little over a year after the grandiose double album “VOZ” Jeff HAMEL leader MAJESTIC, recurrence, this time with a single album. But do not be fooled because this is the first area because “Epsilon 2″ is scheduled for August 2014. Singing is once again hosted by Chris HODGES, Celine and David CAGLE DERVAL them who were present on “VOZ”. And that’s not all, the presence of guest vocalist Mark ATKINSON (Riversea, Nine Stones Close) on “Starlight” is noted. The concept of the album revolves around a space odyssey and the star Epsilon, an integral part of the galaxy Eridanus. To learn more about this I suggest you visit the site MAJESTIC or do a search on the net. For now I will focus on the main subject of this column, “Epsilon 1.”

We have seen in recent years at an incredible progression MAJESTIC music and its central pillar Jeff HAMEL and it continues with this production. The album opens with “Chariots” a song where keyboards are very present supported by an aggressive guitar. Singing Chris HODGES sticks perfectly together. The second title “Mother Dearest” is sung by Celine DERVAL and is as heavy as the previous one. Keyboards and rhythm guitar increase already felt Mike KOSACEK. Celine’s voice is captivating and energetic. Different atmospheres swirl until a lull as if we travel in time without effort. The final is worth remembering. Mood change with “Starlight” is the song that Mark Atkinson takes over and for those who do not know this singer, he is one of the wonderful voice of contemporary progressive rock. On “Starlight” his song is melancholy and filled with emotion, close to Steve HOGGARTH. Synthesizers maintain the floating ambience that takes us to the next level step by step. Incursions guitar Jeff HAMEL give us the creeps at a higher level. Ten minutes of a great happiness and a deep beauty. Comes after “Epsilon” divided into three parts “Event Horizon,” “Doorways” and “samskaras”. More than twenty-four minutes to travel a great symphony. “Event Horizon” is the longest of the trio and it sets the tone for the upcoming trip where we invite Jeff HAMEL. His bluesy sounding guitar weaves a clever and dense melody that define the universe of Epsilon. The main musical theme is led by terribly dazzling synthesizers, added to that the voice of the new singer David CAGLE and impressive voice. The second part “Doorways” is instrumental, and welcome to mellotron and guitar. This is a very intense moment. In closing, “Samskaras” announces a return to the theme of the first part with a well supported bass guitar. David CAGLE there again offers a noteworthy performance.

The sound is great and MAJESTIC simply taking. Another proof that MAJESTIC is part of the great progressive world. “Epsilon 1″ is a must, everything on this album is good. Over the years I became a big fan of this musician, if it is not already, enjoy every second of this first part, you will become. Thank you Jeff!

Cote 4.5/5

 

Pistes

1. Chariots (11:10)
2. Mother Dearest (9:29)
3. Starlight (10:20)
4. Epsilon I: Event Horizon (8:42)
5. Epsilon II: Doorways (7:38)
6. Epsilon III: Samskaras (7:22)

 

 

Musiciens

- Jeff Hamel / Guitares, Claviers
- Mike Kosacek / Drums, Percussion
Avec:
- Chris Hodges / Chant sur 1
- Celine Derval / Chant sur 2
- Marc Atkinson (Riversea, Nine Stones Close, Mandalaband) / Chant sur 3
- David Cagle / Chant sur 4, 6

Review (French): Epsilon 1 – Musicwaves.fr – 4/5 Stars “Ensconced in the top of the basket of American progressive groups, Majestic confirms its status with this new album, no real surprise, but so well written and performed that satisfied the most demanding throughout many tracks listens.”

Original Link

Epsilon 1
(Recommandé)
TRACKS :
01. Chariots – 11:10, 02. Mother Dearest – 9:29, 03. Starlight – 10:20, 04. Epsilon I: Event Horizon – 8:42, 05. Epsilon II: Doorways – 7:38, 06. Epsilon III: Samskaras – 7:22

FORMATION :
Celine Derval (Chant), Chris Hodges (Chant), David Cagle (Chant), Jeff Hamel (Guitares / Basse / Claviers), Marc Atkinson (Chant), Mike Kosacek (Batterie / Percussions)

TAGs :
Epique, Neo, Symphonique, Concept-album

Un peu plus d’un an après la parution du majestueux mais peut-être trop imposant V.O.Z., Majestic et son leader multi-instrumentiste Jeff Hammel reviennent avec leur nouvel album, Epsilon 1, première partie d’un diptyque dont le concept tourne autour d’une odyssée spatiale et de l’étoile Epsilon, partie intégrante de la galaxie Eridanus. Pour ceux que le sujet intéresse, je les renverrais à l’étude la mythologie grecque (ou à la lecture du site de Majestic !), pour notre part, nous allons nous intéresser en premier chef à la musique proposée par ce groupe qui, avec ses dernières productions, avait atteint une forme de plénitude de bon aloi pour nos oreilles avides de rock progressif.

Chariots ouvre les hostilités avec un néo progressif plutôt classique, légèrement pataud au démarrage, largement porté par des envolées de claviers soutenues par une guitare agressive, la voix de Chris Hodges évoluant dans le même registre. Profitant des 11 minutes du titre, Majestic nous propose des ruptures d’ambiance ponctuées par des rythmiques syncopées, ainsi que plusieurs changements de thèmes, enluminés par un magnifique solo de guitare central. Ce ton agressif va se poursuivre sur la première moitié de Mother Dearest, avec une lourdeur métallique et des claviers à la Jon Lord qui finira par s’estomper pour proposer un final plus languissant, à la limite de l’expérimental.

La suite va se révéler plus conforme aux productions précédentes du groupe, avec un néo-progressif puissant, dominé par des claviers tantôt symphoniques, tantôt planants avec une grosse connotation floydienne (Epsilon I), et de longues parties instrumentales prenant même par moment des accents psychédéliques. L’origine américaine du groupe se ressent nettement tant dans la qualité de la production, que dans l’ampleur donnée à chaque instrument permettant un remplissage de l’espace sonore. A ce titre, l’écoute au casque est réellement recommandée ! Le titre le plus court atteignant 7’30, Jeff Hammel prend donc ses aises au sein de chaque morceau pour développer ses idées, sans toutefois négliger la place accordée aux vocalistes, et notamment à Mark Atkinson (Riversea, Nine Stones Close), invité à tenir le haut du pavé sur Starlight, sa voix enchanteresse collant parfaitement à l’atmosphère apaisée de cette plage épique.
Outre la qualité de composition de notre artiste, il conviendra également de noter ses talents d’interprète, tant aux claviers qu’aux instruments à manche : le dynamique instrumental Epsilon II – Doorways est à ce titre bluffant !

Bien installé dans le haut du panier des groupes progressifs américains, Majestic confirme son statut avec ce nouvel album, sans réelle surprise, mais tellement bien écrit et interprété qu’il contentera les auditeurs les plus exigeants tout au long de nombreuses écoutes.

Plus d’informations sur http://www.majesticsongs.com/

 

Translated by Bing:

A little more than a year after the publication of the majestic but perhaps too imposing V.O.Z., Majestic and multi-instrumentalist frontman Jeff Hammel are back with their new album, Epsilon 1, first part of a diptych whose concept revolves around a space Odyssey and the star Epsilon, an integral part of the Eridanus Galaxy. For those that are interested in the subject, remit them to study Greek mythology (or reading the Majestic site!), for our part, we will focus first Chief music proposed by this group which, with its latest productions, had reached a form of fullness of good quality to our eager ears of progressive rock.
Carts opens hostilities with a progressive neo classic, slightly clumsy start, widely worn by flights of keyboards supported by an aggressive guitar, the voice of Chris Hodges in the same register. Taking advantage of the 11-minute title, Majestic offers breaks to atmosphere punctuated by syncopated rhythms, as well as several changes of themes, illuminated by a magnificent central guitar solo. This aggressive tone will continue on the first half of Mother Dearest, with a metal heaviness and keyboards to the Jon Lord which will eventually fade to propose a more languid, the limit of the experimental.
The suite will prove to be more in line with the previous productions of the group, with a progressive powerful, dominated by sometimes symphonic, sometimes Ethereal keyboards with a big floydienne (Epsilon I) connotation, and long instrumental parts taking even by moment of psychedelic accents. The American origin of the group feels significantly both in the quality of production, and in the scope given to each instrument for filling of the sound space. As such, the headphone listening is really recommended! The shortest title reaching 7’30, Jeff Hammel takes therefore his comfortable within each piece to develop his ideas, without neglecting granted instead to the vocalists, and in particular to Mark Atkinson (Riversea, Nine Stones Close), invited to take the top of the keypad on Starlight, his enchanting voice sticking perfectly to the atmosphere calmed down this epic beach.

In addition to the composition of our artist quality, it also should be noted talents of interpreter, both keyboards instruments to handle: the instrumental dynamic Epsilon II – Doorways is stunning!
Ensconced in the top of the basket of American progressive groups, Majestic confirms its status with this new album, no real surprise, but so well-written and interpreted that he confine the most demanding listeners throughout many listens.
More info on http://www.majesticsongs.com/

Review-Epsilon 1: Sea of Tranquility – 4 Stars – “This is another great adventure of sound which you should experience. “

Original Link

Majestic: Epsilon 1

Jeff Hamel is back with his latest incarnation of Majestic. This time the band is releasing, in two stages, a double CD space odyssey titled EpsilonEpsilon‘s story is loosely based upon the star Epsilon, which is part of the Eridanus, (The River), constellation. The lyrics and music follow the “story of Phaëton, (or Phaëthon), the son of the Sun god Helios and the Oceanid Clymene. Phaëton wanted to drive his father’s chariot across the sky and kept begging for Helios’ permission to do so until the god agreed, advising Phaëton to follow the beaten track where he saw wheel marks”, according to the band’s website.

 

The first CD, Epsilon 1, includes: Hamel on guitars and keyboards; Mike Kosacek, on drums; V.O.Z alumni David Cagle, (Liberty & Justice); Celine Derval (Scythia); Marc Atkinson, (Riversea, Nine Stones Close, Mandalaband) , and Chris Hodges, (Every Living Soul), on vocals. 

With an excellent storyline chosen to focus his attention, Hamel weaves an intricate musical symphony full of metal guitar, thumping drums, deep bass, and innovative keyboards. The launching, “Chariot” is definitely an early highlight, but my favorite track was “Mother Dearest”, with Celine Derval’s Grace Slick – like vocals. Hopefully she will be a vital part of the second CD and all future projects. 

Marc Atkinson’s guest appearance, on “Starlight”, was well worth the effort and your price of admission. The epic trilogy, “Epsilon I, II, and III” is also full of innovative guitar work and electronic keyboard wonders. 

I do not know what fountain of inspiration Hamel dips his guitar and keyboards into, but for sure…it is filled deep with innovation. This is another great adventure of sound which you should experience. Definitely looking forward to the next CD and how the journey ends. 

Track Listing: 

1. Chariots
2. Mother Dearest
3. Starlight
4. Epsilon I – Event Horizon
5. Epsilon II – Doorways
6. Epsilon III – Samskaras

Added: July 2nd 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Score: 
Related Link: http://www.majesticsongs.com
Hits: 133
Language: english

Review – Arrival 5/5 Stars – “Majestic is a cinema show on its own standing, utterly deserving of the highest accolades and most exuberant applause.”

Review Majestic’s Arrival – 5 Stars from Progarchives

Majestic - Arrival CD (album) cover

Original Link

5 stars 2009′s ‘Arrival’ is a splendid career-making monument to multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hamel, a composer and artist of the very highest order who unfortunately does not yet receive his meritorious due. Well, I feel a gross injustice in seeing too few adherents to such a stellar musician and his craft. Majestic all started for me with the unexpected genius of 2012′s ‘V.O.Z.’ a killer double CD of the very highest caliber. So I went out and got from Jeff the latest 2014 release ‘Epsilon 1′ and this slice of genius which had already received very high ratings. I was also inspired by the rather simple artwork which somehow harkened back to Robin Trower’s classic ‘Bridge of Sighs’ (in my opinion, a huge missing link on PA). 4 tracks, two long ones and two shorter ones, all stellar stuff!

A bold move to kick off an album with a 22 minute rambler but ‘Gray’ gets it done. Both Jeff Hamel and Jessica Rasche combine to entwine their vocal chords in a brief serenade that precedes the booming explosion, a bull-dozing mellotron and guitar assault on the senses, sternly powered by some potent drumming. One can conjure similarities with Ayreon (or its softer off-shoot Ambeon) or Polish heavy-prog advocates Riverside but Hamel likes to bejewel his own diamonds into the mix, tallying voice effects, grandiloquent arrangements and sweltering soloing on the guitar. Essentially full-on turbo prog motoring, the relentless assault is vibrant and epic, a steamroller with attention to melody and detail. A playground section has children voices playing in apparent joy, sweeping synthesized winds blowing the leaves across some fictive carousel, leisurely building towards another glorious chorus (Jessica has a fine voice!), the bass climbs on the bandwagon and Hamel slithers up and down his fret board with apparent glee. A sudden morph into a quasi Hawkwind-like riff , more thumping organ and drums in unison and POW, a slingshot into the cosmos! An emblematic Floydian mood is then firmly established with sublime female wailing, Hamel then offering up a vocal counterpoint and letting his brash guitar do the ranting! Crash and burn outro gives this piece some serious credentials in terms of substance and power.

The immortally striking ‘Wish’ is perhaps one of the finest tracks in the last 10 years, an explosive cocktail of urgency and desire, complete with stunning acoustic guitar work and much later in the track, a long, sensual and saturated solo of incredible stature, feel and immensity, a true guitar solo classic of the genre. Crystalline droplets of shimmering beauty permit Rasche to blow the roof off with some Kate Bush-like wailing that will force any prog fan to kneel in absolute reverence. This uncomplicated piece has captured my deepest interest and I find myself returning to it often and with great anticipation. What a genial performance!

The rambunctious onslaught of crushing bulldozer rock found on ‘Glide’ will undoubtedly wake you up from any mid-afternoon siesta and get you pumped up, big time! Unwittingly on the heavier side of the spectrum, this 9 minute+ rocker will raise the heart rate and provide an exhilarating sense of enjoyment, again due to the explosive Rasche voice, as well as the stunning keyboard, bass and drum work executed by Mr Hamel. His gurgling synthesizer solo spot will enhance his leaden rifferama to the highest apex, twisting on a dime, stop- start accelerations and just merciless soloing.

Then to close off the proceedings with a whopping title track 36 minute finale ,well that takes guts, balls, cojones , call ‘em what you will! Astrophysical seminar expertise effects , tolling guitars announcing some interplanetary event on the horizon , a hint of Yes (Soon section on Relayer), an unmistakable dash of Funkadelic’s classic guitar rant ‘Maggot Brain’, some vigorous symphonics , incredible vocal inflections from Jessica Rasche that all conspire together to construct a memorable main theme that will sear your brain. Nothing rushed or formulaic, always fresh and exalting, constantly pulsating and energetic. The ‘show me now, how to live’ vocal section is outright orgasmic, terrifically inspired guitar blasting notes beyond the stars. No fluff here! Then follows an extended instrumental platform where the master gets to show some serious chops and intensive creativity. Loads of endless screeching wah-wah infused guitar, played by a man possessed but mostly, an unconcealed sense of effortless enjoyment. As far as massive epics go, this one reigns supreme! Jessica blasts forth some ‘little pieces’ with incredible energy, a vocal tour de force that will blow your mind or your speakers (or both). WOW!

It stands to reason that this is the highest rated Majestic album to date, a massive success in terms of heavy neo-prog but honestly, Majestic is a cinema show on its own standing, utterly deserving of the highest accolades and most exuberant applause.

5 Departures

Review: Epsilon 1- 4.5/5 Stars -”Another worthy effort in a splendid Majestic career, with many more to come, we all hope! I have become a huge fan of this unpretentious artist, you all need to give it a try.”

Majestic - Epsilon 1 CD (album) cover

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Majestic keeps on rolling with a 2014 release, the heavily sci-fied ‘Epsilon 1′, a future musical universe of galactic dimension. As usual with multi-instrumentalist and compose Jeff Hamel, the discerning prog fan will be comforted with the usual parameters to rely on, such as Hamel handling all the keys, bass and guitars, plus the ubiquitous epic suite to dazzle the minds, as well as some neat surprises. One such revelation is the presence of the unique Marc Atkinson (ex-Nine Stones Close and currently manning Riversea) , a voice that is about as melancholic as it gets, who guests on the third track ‘Starlight’. This album represents a definite maturing in the depth of Hamel’s vision, closer than ever to Ayreon’s epic grandiloquence, propelled by Mike Kosacek’s heavy metal drum pounding. The remaining cameo spots are vocalists Celine Derval, Chris Hodges and David Cagle.

The symphonic brouhaha begins with the fiery 11 minute+ ‘Chariots’, featuring Hodges’ heavy rock singer voice. Echoing pools of ivory splendor with some lush mellotron torrents, the mood expands into a harder edged universe, clanging guitar chords fighting off both heavier riffs and thunderous drums.

The psychotic ‘Mother Dearest’ is even heavier and brasher , skirting into outright metal horizons, emitting a DT, Roswell 6, Rocket Scientists feel, with Kosacek in particular bashing a hard bass drum , fueling some leaden riffs, screeching leads and propulsive bass. The dissonant mid-section emits a strong sensation of perplexity, cottony surrender and flaccid drooling. Swirling moods, vocoded voice (Derval) and intransigent guitar shavings create quite a magic carpet ride of inane psychedelic mania.

There is no denying Marc Atkinson’s voice commanding deep respect on the luminous ‘Starlight’, he is the owner of one of the finest voices in prog, a moodier version of Steve Hoggarth and Mark Hollis. His vocals have a pleading and reverential quality that is impossible to emulate, profound melancholia and tight emotion are intertwined with delicate creativity. Swivelling synthesizer keeps the mood floating towards a higher purpose, contemplative and introspective, Hamel’s lead guitar excursions providing all the shriek and strain needed to raise the goose bumps to a higher level. Ten minutes of ample bliss and hefty beauty.

As per his back catalogue, Hamel usually excels in the epic suite department (check out ‘Arrival’) and the ‘Epsilon 1′ extravaganza shows once again what a terrific composer the man is, building a three-part 24 minute + symphony of galactic fare of the very highest pedigree. This is rightfully the core of the album and is the defining factor in its inherent excellence. ‘Event Horizon’ is first up and longest of the trio, setting the tone for the imminent journey as Hamel has his axe screeching with impunity, weaving a clever and dense melody that will set the controls to the heart of the Epsilon universe, displaying a sublime blues-based technique that shines ever so brightly. The synth-blown main theme is achingly dazzling and revealing, with new vocalist David Cagle introducing his impressive Lou Gramm-like voice to the front of the stage, amid the glittering adornments and the steady beat from the ever reliable Kosacek.

Part 2 ‘Doorways ratchets it up a notch with a platform for some serious soloing including stellar lead guitar that is both very linear and exceedingly corrosive , all pushed forward by a turbocharged rhythm section, plowing madly forward. Hey, a little ‘boom-boom-tchak’ blowout is always welcome! Phenomenal and exciting, this will get the string mellotron fans excited as the walls of sound become bombastic and tyrannical, tossing in some insistent piano as well as the buzzing guitar insolence. Damn this is virtuous stuff indeed!

Part 3 ‘Samskaras is the icing on the cake, a return to the part 1 theme and a more ominous bass growl , Cagle now howling his inner pain while the guitar gently bites, snipes and chews relentlessly. Grandiose and magnificent, the Majestic sound has precisely that attribute in spades, a constant energy, a devout passion and incredible delivery. The mostly vocal finale is proof in the pudding, a glowing eruption of sheer delight. Typical sci-fi cover art adorns the package, another worthy effort in a splendid Majestic career, with many more to come, we all hope! I have become a huge fan of this unpretentious artist, you all need to give it a try.

4.5 planet Zorgons