In Your Honour - 2010 Reviews

Posted on 06 Jun, 2010

Three years after the very nice "Tomorrowland", the Australian Melodic Power Metal formation BLACK MAJESTY returns to present the follow-up, "In Your Honour". The band's fourth album came out on the 14th May, again via Limb Music Products. It appears that the title refers to the "numerous fans who have stuck by them during their career". While Endel Rivers was the man behind the desk on previous releases, the Australians this time appealed to MASTERPLAN guitarist Roland Grapow for the producing and mixing. Uwe Lulis (REBELLION, ex-GRAVE DIGGER) mastered the album. The cover artwork was carried out again by Dirk Illing, who has previously worked with PARAGON, WIZARD and others. One of his most recent works is the cover of "Sting In The Tail" by the SCORPIONS. While promoting "Tomorrowland" the Australians also came over to Europe to perform at Wacken Open Air in Germany, Masters Of Rock in Czech Republic and Metal Universe in Slovakia. In their home country they supported HELLOWEEN, SAXON, PAUL DI'ANNO, EDGUY, and others.

"In Your Honour" opens with "Far Beyond". A melodic start, building with power bursts until our vents are opened and the Metal can flow freely. Uptempo Power Metal, woohoo! You get powerful guitarwork and the drums pushing it all onwards. As usual, melody is a very important aspect, coming from practically everywhere: vocals, guitars and keyboards. The latter plays a rather small role, in the back. Halfway the obligatory solos are due before continuing like before. This is definitely a great song to start with. "God Of War", the title already indicates it, brings even more Metal with a capital M. The music comes pounding out of the speakers in a straight-forward manner. The transition from verses to chorus occurs rather weird. I mean, you can clearly distinguish both parts as the drums and rhythm switch to a different pattern. It requires some listens to properly grasp this change, though. Here as well, the solos lie in the middle. It's a solid song, but the best ones - aside from "Far Beyond", are found a bit farther down the tracklist.

First there's "Millenium", an active and heavy midtempo track with melodic backing. It's in the chorus that the music takes on a pounding character. But it's not only in the back that melody is to be heard, as the guitars' input can be found throughout the song, except the verses. This is another solid song, but somehow not as attractive as the previous or following ones. "Break These Chains" is another highlight, taking off in a melodic way, at a slow pace. It's a ballad with accoustic verses, though electric power (including symphonic backing) is used in the chorus. In general, it's a nice song where the guitarwork stands out with short and longer solos. "Further Than Insane" is another fast Power Metal track, in typical BLACK MAJESTY-style. Keyboards offer backing in the verses, but it's the guitars that are the providers of melody in the chorus. The solos are once again flawless, just like everything else. And I haven't mentioned it, but John's singing obviouosly adds to the splendour of it all.

"End Of Time" is another track of which you can say "Metal!". It's a midtempo song, but pretty classic stuff with bombastic backing. Here as well, the solos come at a later point and complete the beautiful picture. In "Wish You Well" the Metal rolls onwards with the right dose of melody and changes into a powerful, pounding force in the chorus. The solos complement in a wild manner. The quality remains high! But it can also decrease a little, as shown in "Follow". Symphonics play a bigger role here, although the music still rocks. Even if it's different from what preceded, it's nice to hear the diversity delivered so far. Melody remains a key factor in the compositions and in that perspective, John's singing can become a bit tedious after a while. In this song here, yes. But fear not, for "Witching Hour" closes the album in absolute greatness. Building with melody, sort of teasing as if a fast outbreak will follow. And indeed, all switches are activated and pounding Metal comes rushing out of the speakers and into your ears. Sure, Roland Grapow produced and mixed it, hence logical comparisons with MASTERPLAN, but this song could in fact have been a MASTERPLAN song. It's one of the best tracks on this album and everything about it is first class.

BLACK MAJESTY continue to spew out quality Power Metal and with "In Your Honour" it's not different. Each album shows a step forward and while "Tomorrowland" was a very solid release, I have to admit that - to some degree - "In Your Honour" is even better. The production obviously plays a role in this thought, but it's obviously all about the compositions. Still, one thing is very clear here: predictability in the structure. It goes like this: intro/start, verses, chorus, verses, chorus, solos, chorus, ... end. In each song, if you listen well, you can detect this and know when, for example, the solos will come. Not that I mind, because the end result sounds very good, but it's a bit too apparent if you ask me. Anyway, like before, you absolutely cannot go wrong with BLACK MAJESTY. Fans of the band can buy this unheard. By the way, the limited edition digipack contains two bonus tracks, a poster, a sticker and liner notes. Power Metal fans in general should check out "In Your Honour" as well. For comparison reasons, if you're into MASTERPLAN, HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, EXCALION, (old) EDGUY, and similar, BLACK MAJESTY is another band for your collection.

Thoughts Of Metal