ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages

[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]


Majestic - 2012 - "V.O.Z."

(116:54; Majestic)


*****
 

TRACK LIST: - CD 1: 1. In Memory of 4:56 2. VOZ I. New World 4:23 3. VOZ II. Crossing Meridian 7:49 4. VOZ III. Approaching Storm 6:28 5. VOZ IV. Milestone 2:54 6. VOZ V. Whispers 4:10 7. VOZ VI. Freefall 4:56 8. VOZ VII. Darkened Worlds 5:12 9. VOZ VIII. Rise to the Surface 5:58 10. VOZ IX. Skies Clear 3:01 11. VOZ X. Voyage Ends 8:19 - CD 2: 12. Zosimos Sleeps 1:05 13. Becoming 10:13 14. Spirits Dwell 8:19 15. Around the Sun 6:40 16. Hyperbole 8:43 17. Becoming (Reprise) 6:37 18. Red Skies 17:11 LINE UP: Jeff Hamel - guitars, keyboards Mike Kosacek - drums, percussion with: David Cagle - vocals Tara Morgan - vocals Chris Hodges - vocals Celine Derval - vocals

Prolusion. US project Majestic is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Jeff Hamel, and from 2008 and onward this has been a steady going venture in the US progressive rock scene with nine full length albums released as of 2023, with the most recent dating back to 2020. The double album "V.O.Z." was released all the way back in 2012, and was self released.

Analysis. While a general description and introduction of this production can cover many different topics, the fact that this is a highly ambitious venture is probably among the key aspects of note. The entire first CD comes across as a single suite divided into multiple parts, we have many long and elaborate compositions, and the material as a whole is both well developed and detailed. In terms of style and tradition this is very much an eclectic production, with no distinct tradition or subset of the progressive rock universe being truly dominant. As such, this is a production that requires listeners with a fairly wide interest in different kinds of music too of course, and I'll generally describe this as a fairly demanding production to get familiar with too. With the variety as well as the playing time making this a perhaps less accessible creation than many others out there. The music itself, or the different variations explored at least, are all accessible on an individual level. Hamel does have a field day in venturing out far and wide to incorporate different elements, styles and orientations in the different landscapes explored of course, but on an individual level all the components are accessible affairs. The soaring keyboard and synthesizer landscapes of Vangelis makes frequent appearances here, in particular in the first half of this double feature, and harder edged progressive rock of a similar style and kind as Rush makes frequent appearances too. More aggressive escapades with more of a progressive metal intent and orientation makes occasional appearances throughout, and more loose, open and floating trips into psychedelic rock landscapes are perhaps even more common here. Darker, atmospheric laden escapades with a distinct bluesy orientation is something of a staple throughout, with plenty of references to Gilmour-era Pink Floyd, and landscapes of a similar nature but with a stronger emphasis on cosmic flavoring are almost as frequent. That some of the latter instances include what sounds like planned and deliberate direct call-outs to German band Eloy probably merits a mention here. That we also have sections with more of an ambient orientation, elegant wandering piano motifs and sections with a bit of a classical music reference and occasional jazz-oriented underpinnings is also a part of the total experience here, as well as dips into more regular hard rock and metal territories. That we get passages throughout that mix and blend various details of everything described above as well as a few additional flavorings also needs to be mentioned, even if that probably is something of a given aspect of this production. Besides all of the different types of music that we can find examples of throughout this double album, the majority of the songs will also feature several distinct phases. We aren't treated to all that many compositions that stick to any one given form here, but rather creations that weave their way through multiple forms and multiple phases. Transitional phases, slow development of arrangements and abrupt alterations are all used throughout this extensive journey, and even if this is a rewarding and very well made experience this is also a draining album to explore as a strong focus is something of a requirement in this case. Alongside examples of a few songs being a bit more variable in experienced quality that is perhaps the main weakness of this album: It is a production that demands a lot from the listener.

Conclusion. If you have a taste for an artist that mix, blend and play with different aspects of music inside of and outside of a progressive rock context ranging from ambient and electronic progressive music through to Floydian atmospheres and further into the realms of progressive metal, Majestic provides this in vast amounts on "V.O.Z.". It is a solid and well made album on all fronts too, with a solid footing inside of a progressive rock context all the way and on all levels. The inclusive, widespread and eclectic nature of the album as well as its sheer length makes it a demanding listen, but for those who enjoy a somewhat more challenging variety of progressive rock this is also quite the rewarding experience.

Progmessor: March 2023
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Majestic


[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]

ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages