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Majestic - V.O.Z. CD (album) cover

V.O.Z.

Majestic

 

Neo-Prog

3.78 | 76 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
4 stars V.O.Z. is the sixth album from American progressive rock act Majestic, as well as its first double CD release. As with Majestic's other albums, V.O.Z. is primarily the work of guitarist and keyboard player Jeff Hamel (who composes all of the music), but he has also recruited Mike Kosacek on drums and a handful of guest vocalists to complete the experience. As with many double albums, V.O.Z. is a highly ambitious work that will require some attention out of its listener, but its moody atmospheres and precise attention to detail make for a highly recommendable listen.

Although Majestic are often labeled as a neo-prog act, the music on V.O.Z. is much more eclectic than one may expect from the genre. I've yet to familiarize myself with Majestic's earlier offerings, so I can't comment on how this one compares stylistically, but the music here borrows from symphonic and neo prog, seventies' hard rock, progressive metal, and even touches of ambient. The more aggressive side of V.O.Z. typically reminds me of an album like Fates Warning's 1997 masterpiece A Pleasant Shade of Gray - while the riffs can get pretty heavy and intricate, the atmosphere always remains dark and subtle. This is still first and foremost a progressive rock album, though, so fans of acts like IQ, Pink Floyd, and Porcupine Tree should feel right at home here. I was actually quite impressed with how original Majestic's music sounds; I can't think of any other band to compare this to, so kudos to Jeff Hamel for managing to create something new and unique in the progressive rock world!

Fortunately, the songwriting is also excellent across both discs of V.O.Z., and there is enough variation for the album to remain interesting from start to finish. The first disc is dominated by the hour long title track suite, and half of the songs on disc two exceed eight minutes - this can make V.O.Z. seem a bit daunting at first, but the music is solid enough to keep you coming back for more. Tracks like "Voyage Ends", "Hyperbole", and especially the mammoth "Red Skies" should be right up the alley of any progressive rock enthusiast. The album is also quite well-produced, and while it's maybe not the best sounding album out there, all of the instruments are clear and the mix sounds highly professional.

V.O.Z. is one of those rare double CD's that manages to be both free of filler and eclectic throughout its entire duration, so I can only applaud Majestic for putting together such a great release. I would say that V.O.Z. perhaps doesn't reach into the 'masterpiece' range as frequently as other progressive rock gems, but Jeff Hamel has clearly crafted a magnificent observation here. Fans of progressive rock with an atmospheric and heavy edge should find a lot to enjoy from this adventurous release.

J-Man | 4/5 |

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