Black Majesty have been one of the premier faces, if not the face of Australian power metal since their debut Sands Of Time in 2003. Their first three, characteristically blue-covered albums released through then legendary power metal label Limb Music perfectly suited the spirit of the time: melodic guitar leads, rapid fire riffs and drums and overall high-energy fast-paced tracks put Black Majesty musically much closer to their European power metal siblings than the often much heavier Australian outlets like Dungeon.
Even after tinting their album covers different colors than shades of blue with In Your Honor, 2010, and subsequent releases the Australians are still adhering to that classic recipe, unlike many other bands born from the melodic power metal madness in the early 2000s. And you can be happy about that, after all the band is releasing one home run after the other. Thanks to that time-proven sound unique to Black Majesty, this year we are graced by Children Of The Abyss, featuring an artwork by the great Thomas Ewerhard and songs just as singular Black Majesty as the cover. Let’s take a moment to appreciate those guys who are giving the fans what they want, time and time again. While other bands “evolve” into some weird mainstream metal Frankensteins, Black Majesty refine their style and get better every time. Alright, that’s not fair towards their first albums, which are already close to perfect.
Enough of that. Is the album really that good? Maybe inexperienced power metal listeners or people not seasoned with Black Majesty could dismiss Children Of The Abyss as just another power metal album, but should they listen closely, they’d notice quickly how the Australians rise from among the crowd of mediocre ensembles. The high-speed guitar leads and riffs in fill every second with a wall of sound hitting your ear drums, bassist Evan Harris’ fingers must be wound from those sweet licks supporting the songs and singer Gio Cavaliere’s voices rises above all. Cavaliere has been with the band since its inception and rightly so; they should never get rid of him. I can’t fathom why the guy isn’t more famous or joined more power metal projects, he definitely is one of the best singers in power metal at the moment with a distinguished voice you would regognize anywhere immediately. “War’s Greed” sees (hears?) him mastering some lower registers in a balladic style, in those calm moments he sounds similar to Michael Kiske’s serene voice, but not for long as the song soon breaks out to a Maiden-style epic.
There’s nothing to be found on Children Of The Abyss that hasn’t been said before by Black Majesty, which is exactly why it’s so satisfying. You get what you want from that band, and they are happy with that. It’s hard to pin point a best track, as all the songs are just exemplary BM diet, from 2005 high speed orgies like “Children Of The Abyss” and “Reach Into The Darkness” to more pronounced tracks like “War’s Greed”. One quarrel I have with the record is the production, it seems way less clear and more washed-out than its predecessors. I really enjoyed the crystal clear Finnvox-style sound from 2015’s Cross Of Thorns, so I’m not sure what happened here.
Overall Children Of The Abyss is another great addition to Black Majesty‘s discography, with every album interchangeable in sound and quality, and not in a bad way, because they’re all great. Sure, the first 3 albums are considered the most classic today, but the band is working hard to add more and more successors just as great.