What makes old-school swords-and-steel heavy metal great? Is it the loveable cheesiness, the huge riffs we all remember years down the line, or the almost tangible energy that inspires us to headbang, shout along, and makes us feel alive? Yes, but not for German heavy metal act Majesty. After dozens of spins and hours of listening, I’m convinced the band must’ve thought of these genre attributes, promptly uttered “fuck all of that,” and then proceeded to write and record their seventh full-length, Generation Steel.
I’ve been as optimistic as possible and listened to this more than any sane man should, but there are very few legitimate redeeming factors that save Generation Steel from being pure, unadulterated metal failure. “Knights of the Empire” mercifully flirts with a bit more speed than the rest of the album, and builds up to an okay chorus and is later improved by an admittedly decent solo. The problem here is that much like the rest of the album, this song is basically bland Manowar worship to the point of near emulation and nowhere close to necessary listening. “Circle of Rage” has a good solo too, but the surrounding song sounds like a mash-up of Manowar and a slowed-down Dragonforce that nobody asked for, lacking the hooky and energetic aspects of both bands. This is further exacerbated by a grating key change at the song’s end that simultaneously neuters and ruins the entire song in one fell swoop.
The biggest issue plaguing Majesty is that Generation Steel isn’t just boring, it’s aggressively boring. The vast majority of the album plods along at a horribly lackadaisical pace, as for some unknown reason Majesty insists on pursuing this direction relentlessly. The unfittingly titled “War for Metal” limps into battle on tired third-tier Manowar and Saxon riffage, inspiring yawns instead of battle cries, while “Rulers of the World” falls flat on its face with an impotent major key chorus that’s rivaled by Journey in heaviness and blown out of the water by Journey in catchiness. Tarek “Metal Son” Maghary’s vocals contributed greatly to my discontent, as he sounds like a mediocre Eric Adams impersonator phoning it in throughout the record, further burying the songs underneath even more blandness and irritation. Remember those bad Manowar and Saxon songs that show up now and again only to be skipped over every time they’d come up on the record? Generation Steel is that for an entire album.
The biggest travesty on Generation Steel is “Children of the Dark” because it had the chance to soar to the astounding heights of “pretty okay” on the relative strength of the melody comprising its chorus. Instead of using a guitar or even the tried-and-true Manly Men of Metal Choir, Majesty decided to completely torpedo the song by foisting the task of performing the melody on a children’s choir. What’s worse is that this particular choir sounds like ten clones of the annoying little bastard from Manowar’s “The Warrior’s Prayer,” and there’s no joke I could make that could ever rival the surreal and depressing hilarity of the band, producers, label execs, and anyone else who was a part of Generation Steel’s creation saying “yes, this is what the song needs” and running with it. Speaking of producers, Generation Steel’s production is bad. The listless vocals are pushed right to the front of the mix, guitars lack punch or grit, drums sound dull and lifeless, and bass is thin when it actually shows up. The production lacks power and vibrancy, sounding more like heavy metal overcast than heavy metal thunder. Put another way, the production mirrors the music it’s showcasing.
Look, I tried. I really, really tried. I listened time and time again, but Generation Steel just left me completely cold and actively annoyed. I couldn’t recommend a single song on here to anyone, and if I wasn’t reviewing this I wouldn’t have made it through a single front-to-back listen. Majesty have scraped the generic 80s metal barrel and come up empty, and while there must be an audience for this somewhere, it most assuredly isn’t me. It probably isn’t you either.