Though I never got to believe in Santa Claus (my older brother burst that bubble pretty quickly), nor was my family very religious to begin with, Christmas always felt like a magical time. In my case (as it’s probably the case for many others in the Southern Hemisphere), part of the magic was seeing how everybody had to go along with the pretense of this being a winter celebration, even though it was 30ºC outside. TV kept showing Christmas movies set in what always looked like an arctic tundra, and we even sang songs that constantly referenced snow, ice, and fireplaces. And though I did eventually get to have Christmas in winter, it never met the very high expectations that I had about that fantasy world. A world made out of cartoons, movies, and stories, all of which conveyed a “feeling” of Christmas. And it’s precisely that feeling of fantasy and excitement, and even the “winter” feel of the season, that really come through in A Christmas Carol, Majestica‘s new album.
As a genre sometimes referred to as “flowercore,” power metal is no stranger to upbeat themes. Bands like Trick or Treat, Twilight Force, and Gloryhammer have all openly embraced the geekiness of the style, exploring fantasy, science fiction, and even children’s literature in their music, but in a more whimsical and self-aware way than their predecessors. An album like A Christmas Carol fits perfectly within this new generation of power metal bands, marked by a rather pervasive sense of longing for the magic of childhood. In fact, what this musical retelling of Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol really amounts to be, is no less than a love-letter to Christmas and the magic of childhood. The lyrics constantly reminisce about the wonders of spending Christmas with our loved ones, the importance of family, and about loving each other more than we love our possessions. And while this could have been done terribly, the result is actually a really good power metal album, and which
Majestica‘s approach to Christmas song-writing was a fun one. Taking a page from Trans-Siberian Orchestra‘s albums, the band based their songs around well-known Christmas melodies, without actually covering them, in a way that make it clear even to an inattentive listener that the songs are about Christmas. That’s how the melody of an otherwise “normal” power metal songs like “A Christmas Story” transforms into “O Come All Ye Faithful”, or “Ghost of Christmas Past” references “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Confirming my idea of the longing for childhood, the album even does a callback (albeit completely inexplicably) to the “Mob Song” from Beauty and the Beast, both in “Ghost of Christmas Present” and “Ghost of Marley”. I have no idea why they went in that direction but, if I’m honest… I don’t hate it.
It’s hard to explain why A Christmas Carol works so well, but it does. And though I never thought that a Christian metal album would be fun, I’ve definitely been proven wrong. Even if, like me, you don’t care about Christmas as a holiday, and aren’t even religious, this is an album that, like Saturday morning cartoons, can take you a back to a time of magic, and make you feel kind of warm inside. Who cares if it’s all bullshit?