Roundabout a year ago Aldous Byron Valensia Clarkson made his first try under the banner METAL MAJESTY, where I could discover tons of QUEEN influences and passages, but neither Metal nor originality and mostly no quality either, which logically led to a 2.5 rating. Now the Dutchman living in
Spain is back with the imaginatively titled “2005” and let’s hear, if anything has changed for the better.
And as much as I would have wished for this, the rating already gives away that it is not really the case. As on the previous album Valensia is very ambitioned, trying to recreate the theatralics of the unforgotten and also unreached QUEEN, which he basically also manages, as many of the compositions have a similar atmosphere and also are instrumentally sound. So where’s the rub?
For one in some of Valensia’s vocal passages, where he tries too much and does not really reach, where he wants to go, on “Burying Heather“ several passages just sound horrible and on the other hand is what we get here often far more than just an homage to QUEEN, but once more steps over the threshold to where the songs seem closer to plagiarism than actual original song writing, as sorry as I am to have to use such harsh words.
Vocal harmonies and melodies seem to be taken one to one from the QUEEN catalogue, even if they rock out a bit straighter, as the opener “We Rocked“ (how programmatic) shows, the hope that this will manage to get the cart out of the mud is short-lived, though, because as competent the musicianship itself is, as little identity Valensia can put into his delivery and in the end I also miss the substance that would make me come back to the CD voluntarily. Only “Hell Hounds On My Trail“ manages to convince me (even though the QUEEN influence is extremely strong), which is a pity.
If QUEEN and Freddie Mercury had never been, Valensia might very well be a visionary of the Rock genre, but I have to feel sorry for all bands that would rather have deserved to release an album than METAL MAJESTY already do for the second time… Oh yes, to make sure: I love QUEEN! (Online August 6, 2005)