Song review: Majesty
Band: Nevsky Prospekt
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Date of Release: 5th March 2013
Genre: Alt Rock
What an interesting submission this is. When I looked at the album art, I honestly expected this song to be some form of Death Metal. I was categorically wrong, and I’m so glad. We get a LOT of submissions running the gamut of heavy genres from Hardcore to Slam. What we DON’T get, is submissions that could be described as a hybrid of King Crimson and Rush. I really wish we got more subs of this ilk; they certainly do shake things up a touch around IPHYB HQ. The last time we had this kind of surprise at the office was when it was Grass-Man’s turn to supply morning tea. Long story short, Thrillhouse ended up naked in the main street riding a “Mystical Unicorn” which on closer inspection turned out to be Thall coated in honey and dessicated coconut with a traffic cone duct-taped to his head. Good times…Until Emo Lord decided that the costume wasn’t complete without a horse tail-plug. But I digress…
So, workplace frivolity aside, what can we expect from this tune exactly? Well, the immediate thing that sticks out is the octaver that the guitar is running. It gives the song a really effective retro feel, as does the surging baseline. In fact, the vocalist bears a vague sonic resemblance to Geddy Lee (Rush), rounding off the trilogy of old-skool homages. Cool shit, actually.
The guitars are well executed, some nice modal runs built around the basis of the riff throwing some much needed variation in. Not many bands reference riffs but slightly change them later on in the song these days, which is a shame because it is a really cool trick when used properly. The solo isn’t too bad, a few sketchy licks make it come off as an improvised job though, so maybe work on the phrasing a little. Some vibrato wouldn’t have gone astray either, just to get that smooth feel that you want in a solo. The tone is spot on as well, once again putting me strongly in mind of Rush/King Crimson.
The bass actually a gets a mention on it’s own merits! I know, shocking right? I assure you it is well deserved. The bass rollicks along with gay abandon, throwing in plenty of sweet runs that exist entirely independently of the guitars. The pulsing feel is absolutely killer too, really suits the aesthetic well.
Songwriting is a very, very difficult thing to judge in this style of music. Typically, songs like this have an agenda, and shortening the song for the sake of maintaining a fresh feel is actually detrimental. The song isn’t overlong at 4:34, but the verse does repeat a few times, as does the main riff. It’s a considered approach to drive home the theme and concept, and in this song it actually works well. The chorus is a little less effective, without actually being poor. It still maintains the flow of the song, and breaks up the same rhythm with some effective stops to capitalise on the tension created by the verse. Well done.
Overall, we have a really solid song that pays a large debt to a lot of the greats of the Prog-Rock genre. Whilst this song probably gets lumped as Alt Rock, it definitely has a lot of elements that would be more at home in a Progressive song, stopping short of the dynamics and thematic deviation truly required to be considered Prog. In fact, the only thing that was really missing was a section of vacant guitarwork paired with an unconventially timed drum pattern. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable tune that would be at home in the playlist of any late-70’s Prog aficionado.
Overall IPHYB Rating: 8/10