Review – Epsilon 1 – Sea of Tranquility “If you are a progressive music fan, and I presume you are, please do not hesitate to pick up Epsilon 1, it is that good. “

Majestic: Epsilon 1
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-09-14 18:33:21
My Score: 



Majestic is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hamel. He formed the project in 2004 and their first album, Descension, was released in 2007. Epsilon 1 is the seventh album although I believe the follow up Epsilon 2 has already been released. I was looking forward to this one as I quite liked Arrival, the last one I have heard. I suppose I have some catching up to do.

Here Jeff teams up with drummer Mike Kosacek, who first appeared on the V.O.Z. album, and guest vocalists Marc Atkinson (Nine Stones Close), David Cagle (Liberty & Justice), Celine Derval (Scythia) and Chris Hodges (Every Living Soul). 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise the results are excellent beginning with the eleven minute “Chariots”. Calmer, spacier moments are mixed with heavier bits of prog metal riffs and melodic guitar work. “Mother Dearest” is even heavier with a huge organ intro, complex riff patterns and interesting keyboard effects. The shimmering “Starlight” is a lovely mid tempo slice of neo prog featuring Atkinson’s moody lead vocals. His voice has a wistful quality and when combined with Hamel’s wonderful synth textures and soaring leads the result is pure prog bliss. 

The last three tracks make up the epic “Epsilon” suite, a progressive tour de force with wonderful guitar and keyboard interaction. It is truly a majestic piece with multiple crescendos, spiraling lead guitar and a myriad of keyboard sounds. Cagle’s lead vocals are also very strong.

If you are a progressive music fan, and I presume you are, please do not hesitate to pick up Epsilon 1, it is that good. 

 

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Review – Epsilon 1 – Progarchives says “This one is a solid prog album!”

Something new majestic is turning out, yeah! The band name perfectly matches due to a bombast approach coming up, equipped with symphonic keyboard patterns. As for that Jeff Hamel consequently continues his – definitely successful – concept with ‘Epsilon 1′, while merging neo and heavy prog as well as some metal and spheric psychedelic moments. As I was really amazed by the forerunner ‘V-O.Z’ I came to this with much curiosity, that was to be expected.- hence probably associated with defined standards which are relatively high.

Jeff routinely handles nearly all the instruments, except the percussion work which is Mike Kosacek’s business once again. Even the vocal line-up is quite similiar to the prior album, though only quite, as – really noticable – Marc Atkinson is appearing for the song Starlight. Not wanting to bash the other vocalists in any case, but Marc and Jeff are very compatible I want to accentuate, as they both have the ability to represent a special melancholic sentiment. A very nice song, however this partially sounds only a few stones close to ‘A Secret’ somehow, which we already had on ‘One Eye On The Sunrise’ in 2012.

As a designated psychedelic/space rock fan, of course I have to notice Event Horizon – this comes like they (Jeff and Mike) are jamming a lot here, until vocalist David Cagle interfers into this affair sooner or later. ‘Epsilon 1′ establishs its real strengths especially when reaching for the second partition, the Epsilon suite as such. Musicianship is great without question, consequently this one is a solid prog album, again featuring a crossover of styles, nice vocals and harmonies, thus a recommendable offer to purchase without a doubt – 3.5 stars.

Review Epsilon 1 (Polish) – MLWZ 102.4 Krakow, Poland : “I suggest you soak up as much as possible of the Epsilon 1, dreaming and staring up at the stars in the sky.”

After being featured on MLWZ Krakow, Poland 102.4 FM Artur Chachlowski wrote the following review of Epsilon 1. The review is in Polish but the english google translation is down below.   

Projekt muzyczny amerykańskiego multiinstrumentalisty Jeffa Hamela o nazwieMajestic jest doskonale znany słuchaczom MLWZ. Na naszych łamach znalazły się recenzje wszystkich dotychczasowych wydawnictw tego zespołu. W kwietniu 2014 roku dotarła do nas kolejna galaktyczna odyseja zatytułowana „Epsilon 1”, nawiązująca swą historią do mitologii greckiej. Konstelacja Eridamus, którego częścią jest gwiazda Epsilon, odgrywa ważną rolę w micie o Phaetonie, synu Heliosa, który powożąc rydwanami swojego ojca naraził się na gniew samego Zeusa. To punkt wyjścia do tej muzycznej opowieści, której ciąg dalszy rozgrywa się kilka tysięcy lat później…

Ten album to – zgodnie z numeracją w tytule – pierwsza część muzycznej opowieści, a jej kolejne losy poznamy pod koniec sierpnia, kiedy to ukaże się „Epsilon 2”. Tymczasem mamy przyjemność wsłuchać się w sześć pierwszych kompozycji z albumu nr 1. Otwiera go nagranie „Chariots”. Mocny akcent instrumentalny w postaci brzmienia gitar i klawiszy wciąga nas w improwizacyjny wir nieziemskich wydarzeń. Wiele ciekawych zagrywek, zmiany tempa i sporo urokliwych wokalnych dokonań czeka na słuchacza podczas tych 11 minut trwania nagrania. Gdyby jeszcze kogoś nie przekonał pierwszy utwór, co raczej jest niemożliwe, to nie mniej muzycznych emocji czeka na nas w kolejnej kompozycji, „Mother Dearest”. Tym razem spędzimy kilka minut w progresywno-metalowej odsłonie, wraz z kobiecym śpiewem (Celine Derval) i tajemniczymi głosami. To nie wszystkie, miłe dla ucha niespodzianki, które przygotował dla nas Majestic. Kolejne karty są odkrywane przed nami, tworząc klimat i narastające napięcie, tak niezbędne dla wyrażenia głębokich emocji towarzyszących nam od początku tego albumu. Każdy jego fragment emanuje uroczym – stosownie do treści – brzmieniem, jak np. w utworze „Starlight”, gdzie umiejętnie i stopniowo budowany jest wspaniały nastrój. Zaraz po nim pozostaje nam do wysłuchania trzyczęściowa suita: „Epsilon I, II i III”, zawierająca różne podtytuły. Część pierwsza, zatytułowana „Epsilon I: Event Horizon” w instrumentalny sposób ukazuje nam mistrzowskie cechy kompozytora tego projektu. Jego syntezatorowe dokonania roztaczają nad nami niezwykłą przestrzeń, która zostaje w dalszej części nagrania wzbogacona bardzo pięknymi wokalizami. Przechodzimy do „Epsilon II: Doorways”, który ożywiony jest przez rytmiczne brzmienie, jak i gitarową solówkę, którym starają się dorównać z odpowiednim temperamentem instrumenty klawiszowe. To mocne nagranie, będące odzwierciedleniem talentu do twórczych dokonań muzyków, tworzących poszczególne utwory. I tak oto niepostrzeżenie docieramy do kompozycji „Epsilon III: Samskaras”, która w fenomenalny sposób kończy nasze spotkanie z najnowszą spacerockową produkcją Majestic.

W ten sposób spędziliśmy niecałą godzinę w towarzystwie: Jeffa Hamela, który gra na gitarach i instrumentach klawiszowych oraz Mike’a Kosaceka (perkusja), którym towarzyszą następujący wokaliści: Chris Hodges (śpiew w „Chariots”), Celine Derval (śpiew w „Mother Dearest”), David Cagle (śpiew w suicie „Epsilon”) oraz znany nam z fromacji Riversea i Nine Stones Close, Marc Atkinson (śpiew w „Starlight”).

Zauroczeni tą muzyczną porcją ciekawie zaaranżowanych utworów będziemy cierpliwie czekać na ciąg dalszy kosmicznego epizodu, a tymczasem proponuję chłonąć ile się da z „Epsilon 1”, marząc i wpatrując się w gwiazdy na niebie.

Translated by Google: 

The musical project of American multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hamel called Majestic is well known to listeners MLWZ. On our pages included reviews of all current releases of this team. In April of 2014 years we received another galactic odyssey entitled “Epsilon 1″, referring to its history of Greek mythology. Constellation Eridamus, part of which is the star Epsilon, plays an important role in the myth of Phaeton, son of Helios, who powożąc chariots of his father incurred the wrath of Zeus himself. This is the starting point for this musical story, which continued takes a few thousand years later …

This album is – according to the numbering in the title – the first part of the musical story, and its subsequent fate will be announced at the end of August, when it will be released “Epsilon 2″. Meanwhile, we have the pleasure to listen to the first six compositions from the album No. 1 opens his recording of “Chariots”. Strong accent instrumental in the form of guitars and keys draws us into a vortex of otherworldly improvisational events. Many interesting licks, change of pace and a lot of charming vocal achievements awaits the listener during these 11 minutes of recording. If someone still not convinced the first track, which is rather impossible, it is no less musical excitement is waiting for us in the next composition, “Mother Dearest”. This time we will spend a few minutes in the progressive-metal installment, along with the women singing (Celine Derval) and mysterious voices. That’s not all, pleasing to the ear surprises that Majestic has prepared for us. The cards are revealed to us, and creating a climate of growing tension, so necessary for the expression of deep emotions surrounding us from the beginning of this album. Each piece exudes a charming – according to the content – sound, such as. In “Starlight”, where skillfully and gradually built a wonderful mood. Immediately after it remains for us to listen to the three-part suite “Epsilon I, II and III”, containing various subtitles. The first part, entitled “Epsilon I: Event Horizon” in the instrumental shows us the composer’s masterful features of this project. His synth make us enjoy the extraordinary space, which is later enriched recordings very beautiful vocals. Go to the “Epsilon II: Doorways”, which is animated by a rhythmic sound, and guitar solo, where you try to catch up with the appropriate temperament keyboards. This powerful recording, reflecting talent for creative achievements of musicians, forming individual songs. And so imperceptibly reach the composition “Epsilon III: samskaras”, which brilliantly concludes our meeting with the latest production spacerockową Majestic.

In this way, we spent less than an hour in the company of: Jeff Hamel, who plays guitar and keyboards and Mike Kosaceka (drums), accompanied by the following vocalists: Chris Hodges (vocals in “Chariots”), Celine Derval (singing “Mother Dearest “), David Cagle (song suite” Epsilon “) and known to us from fromacji Riversea and Nine Stones Close, Marc Atkinson (vocals on” Starlight “).

Attracted by the music portion arranged, the track will patiently wait for the continuation of the cosmic episode, and in the meantime I suggest you soak up as much as possible of the “Epsilon 1″, dreaming and staring up at the stars in the sky.

Review Majestic – Epsilon 1(German) – Empire magazine no. 106 – “Recommended!!”

 

 

From the upcoming issue of Empire Magazine no. 106:

Epsilon 1

MAJESTIC
Epsilon 1
(Eigenproduktion, 2014)

Majestic wurde schon in Heft Nr. 102 vorgestellt, damals handelte es sich um das Doppelalbum
’Voz’. Das aktuelle Werk heißt ‘Epsilon 1′ und einige Parallelen zum Vorgänger werden schnell deutlich. Auch diesmal handelt es sich nicht um eine vielköpfige Musikerschar – auch wenn sich
dies gelegentlich so anhört. Nein, Jeff Hamel ist wieder fast im Alleingang unterwegs und kreiert
mit diversen Gitarren und Keyboards in erneuter Zusammenarbeit mit Schlagzeuger Mike Kosacek
ein wiederum ziemlich voluminöses Heavy Symphonic Werk. Dem Bandnamen entsprechend
geht es ähnlich zum Vorgänger auch hier wieder ziemlich opulent und bombastisch zu, wobei als Pluspunkt zu verbuchen ist, dass Hamel in der Wahl seiner Sänger ein glückliches Händchen bewies. Lediglich ein Song ist rein instrumental, bei den restlichen fünf Titeln sind vier unterschiedliche Sänger bzw. Sängerinnen zu hören, nämlich Chris Hodges, Celine Derval, David Cagle, sowie Marc Atkinson (Ex-Nine Stones Close, Riversea). Sie fügen sich perfekt ins Gesamtbild ein und tragen ebenfalls zum Gelingen dieses Sci-Fi Albums bei. Empfehlenswert!

Jürgen Meurer

Google Translate: 

Majestic has been featured in Issue No. 102, at that time it was the double album 
 ‘Voz’. The current work is called ‘epsilon 1′ and some parallels with its predecessor will become readily apparent. This time it is not is a many-headed musician crowd – even if 
 this occasionally sounds like. No, Jeff Hamel is again almost single-handedly created the go and 
 with various guitars and keyboards in renewed collaboration with drummer Mike Kosacek 
 turn a fairly bulky heavy symphonic works. The band name according 
 it is similar to its predecessor here again quite opulent and bombastic to, which should be recorded as an asset that Hamel in his choice of singers proved a lucky hand. Only one song is purely instrumental, with the remaining five tracks are four different singer or singers to hear, namely Chris Hodges, Celine Derval, David Cagle, and Marc Atkinson (ex-Nine Stones Close, Riversea). They fit perfectly into the overall picture and also contribute to the success of this sci-fi album with. Recommended!

Jürgen Meurer

Review – Epsilon 1- Your Music Blog “I had little problems liking this as I did with other albums featured here. Go check ´m out!”

Majestic – Epsilon 1, 2014

majestic - epsilon 1Always a pleasure to listen to new output from Jeff Hamel under the Majestic flag. Together with drummer Mike Kosacek and the vocals of Chris Hodges, Celine Derval, Marc Atkinson and David Cagle, Jeff produced this 6 track and almost 55 minutes of music. Music that moves along the paths of (neo) progressive rock, with sometimes heavy passages, and on the other hand some more peaceful moments. But that is the way we like it, right?

Opening with Chariots, the albums epic of 11+ minutes. Beautiful built with several themes and shifting to quite some different styles and moods, this is a great example track for the album. Soaring solos and haunting keyboards, it is all there. Mother Dearest opens with a twisted organ sound and a riff that would not be out of place on a Spock´s Beard album. In this track some more heavy parts are present with heavy kick drumming and some fiery synth solos as well. Coll vibe throughout though, and never a dull moment. And even if there are only 6 tracks (with tracks 4-6 forming a concept), the nature of this is to keep it fresh and takes turns left or right, but always at a time you´d least expect it. Still it does not over ambitious or fragmented. So I had little problems liking this as I did with other albums featured here. Go check ´m out!

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