PICK OF THE WEEK: Majesties set fire to melodic death metal on debut ‘Vast Reaches Unclaimed’

Dynamic forces coming together to create something massive that benefits the entire world is something out of the 10 million superhero movies that come out every quarter (or so it seems). Bringing together great powers to accomplish something as a unit makes for exciting storylines, but in reality, it’s not often we see something like this that lights our imaginations on fire.

Luckily for those of us whose cinematic world is heavy metal, we have that very thing with Majesties, whose debut record “Vast Reaches Unclaimed” revives and sets ablaze the spirits of classic Gothenburg-style death metal. We mentioned forces forming on the same team, and here we have Tanner Anderson (vocals, guitars, drums) from Obsequiae as well as guitarist Carl Skildum and bassist Matthew Kirkwold of Inexorum to create this incredible triumph that could travel back three decades and knock the sound’s creators on their asses. Anderson’s vocal approach is razor sharp and full of lava, while Skildum probably forgot at least a song’s worth of riffs in the time it took me to write this. It’s infuriating, really. These three pull together what they do best and both pay homage to a sound that sparked the desire in them and have added to that vocabulary with these thunderous 10 tracks.

“In Yearning, Alive” tears in with delirious riffs, a major factor on this record, and devastating shrieks raining down with force. Smearing and driving hard, the playing is as thick melodic storm that blows in, flood, and rampages away. “The World Unseen” has blinding guitars and shrieks tearing muscles apart, the wealth of melodies collecting on the river’s edge. The drums gut as the tempo grows even more urgent, blistering and slashing right up to the end. “Our Gracious Captors” stomps and delivers punches, and then the shrieks strangle, everything else tramping you underfoot. The leads sweep and deliver classic death metal flourishes that hit the sweet spot, and then acoustics flood and wash everything away. “Verdant Paths to Radiance” just storms with great guitar work and playing that feels like thick sunbeams through clouds. Shrieks mar as the pace slashes and burns, the guitar work making everything reverberate in your chest and steal your breath. “Across the Neverwhen” is exhilarating from the start, aggression bleeding and teaming with vicious shrieks to add to the bruising. The playing blisters, going fast and furiously through your psyche and into your guts.

“Seekers of the Ineffable” lands with stabbing guitars, the fiery terror coming at you with force, the shrieks utterly bludgeoning. Leads glow as the storming increases, the vocals tear at flesh, and colorful playing laps until an abrupt end. “Sidereal Spire” brings thick basslines and another riff flood, shrieks savaging with hurricane force. Things go cold as they head underwater before breaking the surface again, taking you on a mangling adventure, tearing into a waves of echoes. “Temporal Anchor” blazes open, the guitar work twisting you into knots and giving you no time to gain your thoughts. The drums plaster as the synth glows mysteriously, the shrieks become a jarring force, and everything zips into the clouds. “City of Nine Gates” opens with the drumming clobbering, great riffs rushing the gates, and your senses flooded by everything that’s going on here. The playing bubbles over as it manages a new level of intensity, the shrieks pierce flesh, and the final moments leave your heart hemorrhaging. Closer “Journey’s End” lets waters bubble and humidity add steam as the pace keeps amplifying. Guitars jolt the system as the rapid-fire playing increases the intensity, the vocals massacre any sense of calm, and acoustics rise out of that, giving a rustic end to a thrilling ride.

It’s almost criminal how many insane riffs are packed into “Vast Reaches Unclaimed,” the breathtaking debut record from death metal force Majesties. Hopes already were high when this project was announced simply because of who is involved, and every moment on this 10-track destroyer feels like a high-speed adventure over land and through the air. This is infectious, riveting, and a total rush, an album that every time you hear it, you have a different favorite song and find new ways to crush your central nervous system.   

For more on the band, go here: https://www.instagram.com/majesties_melodicdeath/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/collections/majesties

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/