Majestic: Epsilon 2
Epsilon 2, the companion disc to Epsilon 1, was released a few weeks back and like the previous Epsilon disc it is outstanding. Jeff Hamel has a knack for the melodic side of progressive rock and when you combine that with excellent vocals and fine stick work from drummer Mike Kosacek, you have a winning combination.
Sprinkled with elements of space rock and progressive metal, along with a hint of melancholy that enhances the moodiness greatly, fans of '70s classic prog should love this. There is more than an occasional nod to Pink Floyd so if you are fan of that band you could do a lot worse than checking this out.
Your interstellar ride begins with the grandiose instrumental "Epsilon IV – Generations". A tranquil beginning of spacey keys and droning synths gradually builds into a stunning sound collage of pure orchestral beauty. The music gets pretty heavy with chugging progressive metal riffs and majestic synth led rhythms before ending with a heavy dose of dreamy keyboard bliss. "Epsilon V – The River" alternates between lighter moments of spaciness, soaring guitar and heavier progressive metal walls of sound. The vocals of Chris Hodges are excellent as always. Electronic keyboard patches begin "Epsilon VI – Incandescence", another mood laden spacey track before heavier symphonic prog takes over. Hodges' vocals reminded me of Steve Walsh at times. The short balladic "Epsilon IX – Welcome Home" features Jessica Rasche's serene vocals amidst soaring guitar work.
Perhaps my favourite tune is "Epsilon X – Convergence" where Hamel's guitar work is absolutely fantastic. If space inflected classic prog with a Floydy edge sounds good than this song will surely satisfy.
Majestic keeps getting better with each successive album. Epsilon 2 just might be my favourite so far and earns an impressive 4.5 stars.
1. Epsilon IV – Generations
2. Epsilon V – The River (Eridanus)
3. Epsilon VI – Incandescence
4. Epsilon VII – Ancient Echos
5. Epsilon VIII – The Journey Back
6. Epsilon IX – Welcome Home
7. Epsilon X – Convergence
8. Epsilon XI – Rise
9. Epsilon XII – Fade
Added: October 13th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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|Majestic: Epsilon 2
Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-10-20 16:11:54
Jeff Hamel of Majestic is releasing his follow – up to the brilliant Epsilon CD with the anthology's conclusion Epsilon 2.
Epsilon'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 opening track brings you back to the story with some excellent spacey keyboards at the opening that perfectly set the mood again for this journey into space and time. But don't get too comfortable. The Boston – like guitar engines rev up soon after the opening on the track "Epsilon IV – Generations". The guitars and keyboards complement each other well on this track, which leaves you with that "2001 Space Odyssey" glow at its closing.
"Epsilon V: The River" starts with a slick electric lead guitar that sets this track apart from the last perfectly. Then Chris Hodges delivers vocals and the first lyrics from the album describing one of the planet's most defining features. His "I am alone", echoes provide that haunting feeling anyone may have in deep space with its unforgiving nature.
Other favorites were the opening keyboard synth on "Incandescence", which will grab your attention immediately. Hodges vocals sound like a great mix of Jon Anderson/Steve Perry/ Kevin Cronin's vocals. The lead guitar from Hamel, with his intricate soloing, is superb.
"Ancient Echoes" is by far one of the best mostly instrumental tracks on the two –disc set. The spacey themes will have you tranquilly relaxed and dreaming of some far off stars in seconds. David Cagle's vocals later, blend in well and help retain the relaxed setting created from the opening.
The Hammond – like organ keys on "The Journey Back" are a wonderful addition to the sound mix on the album.
The gentle mix of soft guitar and keys fit well with Jessica Rasche's return to vocals on "Welcome Home". It's good to have her back singing on this album. Her vocals made Ataraxia such an epic release for Majestic.
Hodges's vocal return coupled with soft guitar and keyboard accompaniment help make the longest track "Convergence", the best on the album for my ears. The Genesis' reflections and musical reminders don't hurt either. The pace and power of the track picks up towards the middle as Hodges vocals escalate providing some great album highlights.
The final two tracks, "Rise" and "Fade" add more spectacular keyboard textures and power electric guitar blasts a plenty, to close out this powerful anthology.
If you enjoyed the first CD, you really need to hear the conclusion of the story. This second disc has more power guitar than the first disc. The highlights are many and there are no fillers here either.
Majestic is one of those bands that you don't have to preview to buy. You can trust their sound and know with Jeff Hamel at the helm you will get an exciting blend of progressive rock and metal that will enhance any good record collection.
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