Stargazer is the fifth full-length album by Australian melodic power metal act Black Majesty. The album was released in 2012. The release of Stargazer continues the band’s run of releasing an album roughly every two years, the one exception to their regularity being the gap between Tomorrowland (2007) and In Your Honour (2010). Stargazer is actually the first album by Black Majesty I’ve heard in its entirety but I’ve been aware of the group for awhile, although for all intents and purposes I have to take a newcomer perspective in reviewing this album.
Stargazer is a fairly typical power metal effort, so there isn’t really anything here than hasn’t been done before, just power metal’s fast guitar riffs, plenty of melody, including a large helping of twin lead guitar lines, and a generally epic sound, but without getting into symphonic territory. Keyboards are present, but Black Majesty never lets them take control of their music, preferring a classic metal guitar driven setup. Bands like Black Majesty represent the less cheesy side of the power metal genre, and they are damn good at what they do.
That said Stargazer isn’t the most remarkable power metal album going, but it is a good example of how to play the genre pretty much by the book. There’s really no reason for any power metal fan not to like an album like Stargazer, although I must say that a wonder or two may have been worked if the vocals of John "Gio" Cavaliere had just a bit more strength to them. He’s got a pleasant enough voice but he isn’t quite putting on the show that the epic power metal like Black Majesty play demands.
Also with so many bands playing the genre these days I think things have reached the point where just being a fine example of what the genre can offer isn’t really enough to make an album recommendable. I’m left feeling nothing but positive feelings for Stargazer save for those vocal issues, but it isn’t an album I’d feel inclined to return to in a hurry because while decent enough it just doesn’t stand out as anything special and there simply aren’t enough highlights for the by the book approach to not matter so much. Journey to the Soul and the title track are the best on offer here but with most of the album not reaching the standard of those two tracks Stargazer is an album that runs the risk of being lost in the crowd.
But as I said, this was the first album by Black Majesty I heard in full and for all I know they may well have produced superior albums in their previous four releases, so Stargazer may just be a bit of a blip that has them not at their best. Should I hear one of their older releases in the future I may revisit this review to either confirm or reject that theory. However I’ve never been one to down rate an artist’s work just because they don’t break the mould and Black Majesty did enough things right on Stargazer that I’m sure if you’ve liked the band previously Stargazer will be a satisfactory release. For me though this is a good, but not quite a great album, which unfortunately had diminishing returns due to the lack of real highlights.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))