By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Well folks, it is hard to imagine that it is Christmas time once again. 2020 has certainly not been too kind to us and it was pretty much “Bah! Humbug!” Luckily, the Holiday season has returned and it should bring us some joy. Now everyone knows the Charles Dickens immortal classic A Christmas Carol. It is one of the most beloved Christmas stories ever told, having been made into cartoons, movies, and musicals. The story now heads into a new realm: heavy metal! Power metal group Majestica (formerly ReinXeed) are trading in Dickens’ feathered pens for a couple of guitars and metal attitude, bringing us their version of A Christmas Carol, their very first Christmas album. With the help of Nuclear Blast Records, the Swedish outfit takes us on a 9-track voyage through Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to Christmas redemption, symphonic metal style.
The record first decks the halls with the self-titled track, which has a joyous orchestra arrangement. This will certainly get the listener in a festive mood. Next, the Christmas metal magic begins with “A Christmas Story,” setting the foreground for what is to come in the famed story. Frontman and lead guitarist Tommy “ReinXeed” Johannson takes the reigns as Scrooge, blazing a jolly solo while triumphantly nailing the vocals. I was truly impressed with the wicked drumming work of Daniel Sjögren. “Ghost of Marley” has come to warn Scrooge to change his ways or forever be doomed just as Marely is. ReinXeed acts as Scrooge while bassist Chris David handles Marely, with each tackling their roles very nicely. I like how Majestica incorporates the melody of “Deck the Halls” into this song, giving it a rock ‘n’ roll makeover. “Ghost of Christmas Past” shows Ebenezer how he became the man he is from childhood to young adulthood. I relished in ReinXeed’s soaring tenor-style voice as he brings angelic-like harmonies to the song. Both he and rhythm player Alexander Oriz perform the main riff beautifully in the style of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Adding a heralding choir gives the song an extra Christmas humph! Halfway through, and we approach “The Joy of Christmas.” Sung from the point of view of Scrooge’s worn-out employee Bob Cratchit, Majestica approaches this tune more gently as a ballad. Even though Cratchit is down on his luck, he realizes the importance of Christmas and that wealth is not everything. The piano is very impactful, and ReinXeed’s solo towards the end drives the song home.
“Ghost of Christmas Present” shows Scrooge all that he has done up to this point. The mixed vocal duet between the Ghost and Scrooge is very catchy and potent. The lyrical banter ReinXeed pens is very gratifying. David and Sjögren bring swiftness to the joyful rhythm, while ReinXeed kills it on the lead solo. “Ghost of Christmas To Come” takes Scrooge to a possible future that could lead to his doom unless he repents. Different vocalists come in as the townsfolks who are celebrating Ebenezer’s demise while rifling through his belonging. The music goes Gothic and dark, bringing a sense of horror. I love how ReinXeed changes the pace of his voice to show the mood changing in the song. “A Christmas Has Come” brings Scrooge back as a changed man full of Christmas spirit. In the beginning, I believe I heard Majestica add a snippet of “What’s This?” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is an amusing touch. ReinXeed brings glory and happiness to this finely crafted tune wrapped up nicely with a bow on top. This is power metal at its finest. The album wraps things up with “A Majestic Christmas Theme,” an instrumental number that is perfect for a church or Disney movie. Hearing the different classic Christmas tunes brought together pays homage to the most wonderful time of year (though I still say that day is Halloween).
This has to be one of the most creative and ingenious adaptations of A Christmas Carol ever created. Majestica does a spectacular job of combining Christmas jingles with their brand of symphonic and power metal. This also is one of the best Christmas metal records out there since Twisted Sister’s A Twisted Christmas. Deck the halls with bounds of Orange Amps and blistering guitar licks, for Christmastime is here once again. Only this time, it arrives in metal fashion. 2020 shall not damper our Christmas spirits, thanks to this album. To Majestica, I salute you. Horns up, and HOHOHO!!!
1. A Christmas Carol
2. A Christmas Story
3. Ghost Of Marley
4. Ghost Of Christmas Past
5. The Joy Of Christmas
6. Ghost Of Christmas Present
7. Ghost Of Christmas To Come
8. A Christmas Has Come
9. A Majestic Christmas Theme
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