THY MAJESTIE – Jeanne d’Arc


Scarlet Records
Release Date: November 28, 2005

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In an increasingly crowded Symphonic market, Italian metalers Thy Majestie return with their third release, Jeanne D’Arc, and attempt to wrestle the crown from the genre leader, Rhapsody, who at the moment are so far ahead of the chasing pack that no one can surely catch them … or can they?

Hailing from Palermo, Italy, Thy Majestie signed to Scarlet Records for the release of their Lasting Power debut in 2000 and follow-up Hastings 1066

While certainly showing glimpses of promise, the releases lacked somewhat in the production department, reducing what should have been bombastic symphonies to merely flat-footed whimpers that showed little chance of ever dragging themselves out of the second division and into the Premier League. Little hope was held that matters would change on their third release. How wrong can one be?

Jeanne D’Arc is a concept piece depicting the life and death of French heroine Joan of Arc, who, as a teenager, led the French forces into battle against the English in the 15th Century during the Hundred Years’ War after hearing celestial voices instructing her to defend France. The striking artwork by renowned artist Carl Andre Beckston (Edguy, TNT, Brazen Abbot) sets the tone for the musical tale within.

From the moment the opening, haunting orchestration of “Revelations” gently sets the scene, before building up to a bombastic stirring crescendo, then fading away into a beautiful evocative Gregorian chant passage, it is clear that Thy Majestie stepped up a league in terms of production, songwriting and performing.

“Maiden of Steel” then begins with a flurry of orchestral strings, before the double bass drums kick in and drive the song along at a frantic pace. This leads into “The Chosen,” where vocalist Dario Grillo excels with the sheer power and majesty of his delivery. This really is a stirring, uplifting piece, which perfectly welds Classical themes with Hard Rock. The mid-section is particularly dramatic, evoking images of a sprawling Hollywood epic.

“Ride to Chinon” shows that the band knows how to rock hard in a more straightforward fashion, as this rattles along at a breakneck pace. A short classical musical interlude entitled “March of the Brave” leads dreamily into the towering “The Rise of a King,” which again is a fast-paced rocker, but is overlaid by layer upon layer of atmospheric keyboards and dramatic choral vocals.

Possibly the finest moment on the album comes along in the form of “Siege of Paris,” which could quite easily provide the soundtrack to a battle scene in Lord of the Rings. This is bombastic, dramatic, grandiose, and any other superlative you care to mention. Grillo again puts in a fine performance. Some may be put off by his heavily accented voice, however, that is a minor gripe when you consider the quality of his delivery.

Album closer “The Trial” is the album’s epic piece, changing moods and creating images over the sprawling 9-minute composition, bringing together the final moments of the heroine of the story.

Thy Majestie have in Jeanne D’Arc rectified all of the negative points from their previous releases, and have gone from “also rans” to heading towards the front of the pack just behind Rhapsody. The album is well constructed, beautifully produced, and superbly played. The overall feel has gone from a low budget, slightly forced sound of their earlier material, to a big budget symphonic soundscape, worthy of a lavish Hollywood blockbuster.

If Thy Majestie can build on this huge leap forward, then there is every chance that they can lead the chase and even surpass genre leaders Rhapsody.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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