Album Review: Thy Majestie – ShiHuangDi
Posted by Reggie
Thy Majestie has been in the business for more than 1o-years and I’m sorry to say that their latest album, ShiHuangDi, is my first taste of the band. Though I am behind the curve a little bit, this Power metal band has me intrigued. The epic nature of their music combined with orchestral arrangements and high production value make this fifth studio album an experience. Prior to me actually sitting down and writing up this review I had listened to the album about five times mostly while I was work. For some reason this album wasn’t really grabbing me…that is, until I found enough distraction-free time to put my Skullcandy ear buds in, turn it up, and focus. Then, I realized that the beauty of this album is an experience and must be absorbed accordingly.
For concept album lovers, Thy Majestie laced this album with Asian (Chinese) influence. The story in ShiHuangDi centers on the life of the first emperor of unified China, Qin Shi Huang in 221 BC. Needless to say, this is quite an epic tale; a rollercoaster ride of varying tempos, moods, and Power metal splendor. If you never heard of Thy Majestie and are looking for comparisons, look to a band like Kamelot. That is a pretty good reason to want to take a listen.
The album’s intro, Zhoongguo, builds up the album perfectly. The atmospheric beginning shapes up to more of a pre-battle orchestra…giving you the impression things are about to get a little wild. Seven Reigns validates that by blasting in with opera-like backing vocals and chorus, fierce drums, and tight riffs. The thing I noticed above all is the strength of the vocals from Alessio Taormina. His is range is more mid-range; not so high-pitched considering this is a Power metal band. Thy Majestie has a bit of a darker edge than most Power metal bands I know of.
Siblings of Tian is probably the song that most reminds of Kamelot. There is a nice gallop that really gets the song moving. The melodic intro has a cool riff that almost gives the song just a touch of folk, but nothing that detracts from the Asian atmosphere of the album. Under The Same Sky has another orchestral intro that sets up the song with a semblance of a pre-battle hymn – almost like a break in the story as we prepare for Act II. This particular song is both one of the fastest and slowest songs on the album; starts off slow with vocals; then blasts off to a high-tempo cadence and aggressive double bass. The song moves back and forth from slow and melodic to fast and furious.
The next track, Farewell, begins with sheer serenity from a female opera-style vocalist…almost reminds me of Simone Simons as far as her vocal range is concerned. This song is a great showcase of Taormina’s vocals. The music takes a step back from time to time where he is more prominent and you realize he is an artisan of his craft. Huanghun is the precursor to Act III, as far as I am concerned. It acts like an intermission before the final stage is set. The tone of this song leads the listener to believe there is a heavy dose of darkness on the way; again a pre-battle hymn setting the stage for the final act.
The final three songs conclude the album strongly. The final song, Requiem, is the aftermath. It is laced with Asian influences and mostly vocals with a cool guitar solo. The story is over. ShiHuangDi, as I found, is not the kind of album you play for the sheer enjoyment of having music playing in the background. It simply will not garner the appreciation an album like this deserves. It needs to “listened” to, not simply heard. From beginning to end, this is a strong album. Thy Majestie is on my radar for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunatly, I could not find anything from the new album on YouTube. I will update this post later if I do. However, this song below is an older song, but recoreded recently and has the new lineup. Hopefully, we will see some kind of video or lyric video soon.