Black Majesty - Silent Company

luigiluigi NZ
edited April 3 in year-2005

ARTIST: Black Majesty
ALBUM: Silent Company
LABEL: Limb Music
SERIAL: LMP 0506-082 CD
YEAR: 2005

LINEUP: John 'Gio' Cavaliere - vocals * Stevie Janevski - guitars * Hanny Mohammed - guitars * Pavel Konvalinka - drums

Additional Musicians: Evan Harris - bass * Endel Rivers - keyboards * Jason Old, Susie Goritchan - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dragon Reborn * 02 Silent Company * 03 Six Ribbons * 04 Firestorm * 05 New Horizons * 06 Darkened Room * 07 Visionary * 08 Never Surrender * 09 A Better Way To Die

RATING: image


Last year Jeff Scott Soto toured Australia, and I decided to board a plane for Melbourne to catch the man in action. I'd dealt with Stevie Janevski from Black Majesty through an interview and the band's first album 'Sands Of Time'.

While I was in Melbourne, not only did Stevie ferry me from my hotel to the gig and back, he also had me over to his house for dinner on both occasions. In other words, the man is a class act.

So, why all this preamble? Well, while I spent time with Stevie he gave me a sneak listen to the demos for the new Black Majesty album. I was excited then, but the final product is light years away from what I was expecting. From what I heard I knew it would be as good as the debut, but 'Silent Company' is a superior record in every facet.

'Sands Of Time' was a good record. The new one is a 'f%&#ing great record. Where we can hear the differences, the major changes, from 2003 to the present day. Endel Rivers has excelled with the production. Spacious and powerful, with guitars that sound bigger and a darn sight crunchier than the debut.

Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) recorded the drums with Pavel in Germany, adding to the big production. John's vocals have greater prominence within the mix, as do the backing vocals. In other words, a considerable step up from the debut.

The songwriting has improved, although there were a couple of amazing tracks on 'Sands Of Time', such as the title track, 'Fall Of The Reich', and 'Legacy'. 'Silent Company' as a whole flows effortlessly with a number of outstanding tracks.

The Songs

The title track is simply exquisite. A full-blooded track that has John using his full range. Stevie and Hanny's dual guitar attack really hit the spot with thoughts of Adrian Smith/Dave Murray (Iron Maiden).

The band picked an unusual cover in the John English minstrel ballad 'Six Ribbons'. The song remains true to the original at first but explodes into an excellent power ballad. Black Majesty has taken the song to a new level. The follow-up to that is 'Firestorm', which pretty much sums up the track. Powerful riffing and a sing-along chorus.

The band's admitted Iron Maiden influence stands out on a couple of tracks towards the end, namely 'Never Surrender' and 'A Better Way To Die', with galloping rhythms and tremendous teamwork from Stevie and Hanny. I picked up the limited edition, which includes 2 bonus tracks, the ripping 'Chasing Time', and an acoustic version of 'Guardian', from the debut. There is also a low budget live performance video clip of the title track.

In Summary

I could go on and on about the guitar work, which is fluid, fiery and very classy. Or the top of the range rhythm section. Yet, I am unable to get past John Cavaliere's vocals. Within the melodic metal genre there are perhaps a dozen vocalists that truly stand out from the crowd.

For me it is the likes of Nils K Rue (Pagan's Mind), Roy Khan (Kamelot), Daniel Heiman (ex-Lost Horizon/Crystal Eyes), Jorn Lande (Masterplan) and David Readman (Pink Cream 69) who rule the roost.

With his performance on 'Silent Company,' John Cavaliere has firmly planted himself amongst those great vocalists. But John, stop bloody smoking and save those vocal chords. I'll be honest. My expectations for this album were high. Very high. Black Majesty not only met them, they exceeded them in every area.

As I write this review they are in Europe playing festivals on the big stages with the likes of Hammerfall and Edguy. And that is where Black Majesty deserves to be. On the big stage. 'Silent Company' will help no end in keeping them there. I'll leave you with an Australian saying that emphasises my thoughts about this album,' You Little Beauty'.

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