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Medjay - Sandstorm Award winner

Medjay
Sandstorm
by Mark Machlay at 26 January 2021, 1:51 AM

Power metal with the weight of Egyptian culture and mythology is the winning formula for Brazilian power metal band MEDJAY. Named after the Nubian nomads who were often hired as caravan drivers or mercenaries for ancient Egypt, band founder Samuka has a particular affinity for the history of the region and intends to use it as a fertile structure in which to build a power metal band. He and drummer on the album Tiago Vitek toured across Latin America with Christian power metal band DYNASTY before deciding to pursue their own project in early 2019. They soon recruited Freddy Daniels on guitar, known for his collaboration with both BRAVE and HELLTOWN. Singer and guitarist Phil Lima, however, was discovered on YouTube by Samuka when he uploaded covers of WHITESNAKE’s “Still of the Night” and IRON MAIDEN’S “Fear of the Dark” and promptly asked him to join.

The band quickly got to work on their first single “Death In the House of Horus” and caught the attention of ANGRA’s Rafael Bittencourt, soon becoming something of a mentor to the band. Samuka and Lima spent many months developing ideas and finally recorded the album in November and December of 2019 at Ninrod and Dharma studios. Complications from Covid resulted in delays but eventually the album was mixed and mastered at Engenho Studio and released on November 21st of 2020. Vitek, unfortunately decided to leave the band shortly after recording the album and internationally renowned drummer of AGE OF ARTEMIS and DINNARMARQUE, Riccard Linassi joined the band. Their debut album SANDSTORM is power metal that will appeal to ORPHANED LAND as well as IRON MAIDEN fans that adds in some Arab and other eastern musicality as well.

With the intro track “Egyptian Beast”, you are transported right away to the faraway time of ancient Egypt with a very snake-charmer sounding flute and tribalistic drumming. But quickly, they establish themselves with self-titled track “Medjay”, ripping straight into high flying vocals and crunchy, chuggy guitar riffs and a nice melodic 80s inspired solo. Then there is single “Death in the House of Horus” opening very mystically before diving into typical gallop guitar riffs. Vocals show off a bit of “Bruce Dickinson” quality while the guitars switch between thrash and epic styles seamlessly. Continuing the story of the god of Horus, “Revenge of Horus” is a mid-tempo chugger that grew on me the more I listened to the album, especially when the guest singing of soprano Marilla Zangrandi sings a version of the chorus over solo piano for an outro. “Rise of Glory” does the best impression of the brooding, yet bombastic power metal of bands like HELLOWEEN with a simple, catchy guitar hook driving the entire song. “Sandstorm” brings in Arabic percussion for a quiet middle section of an epic banger of a tune about the Egyptian revolution of 2011. The capper to the album is an almost perfectly executed power ballad in which Lima shares vocal duties with Mayara Puertas of thrash/death metal band TORTURE SQUAD.

Without any way of getting their music out to the masses – COVID-19 put a stop to that by cancelling any recent live shows – MEDJAY’s re-scheduled tour planned for March 2021 may yet be postponed again. Fortunately, like many bands that are reluctantly stuck at home, the band has been hard at work building their follow-up titled “Cleopatra VII”. It is currently in pre-production with 12 songs and being produced by VIKRAM guitarist Tiago Della Vega. So, whether or not the band will be touring, new music will be released from them this year and I am eager to hear more because Arab scales and instruments seem to work well with the mysterious and powerful effect of power metal that these young boys are coming up with.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Egyptian Beast
2. Medjay
3. Death in the House of Horus
4. Revenge of Horus
5. Rise for Glory
6. Sandstorm
7. Lady of the Nile
8. Violate
Lineup:
Samuka – Bass & Backing Vocals
Phil Lima – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Freddy Daniels – Guitar & Backing Vocals
Riccardo Linassi – Drums
Record Label: Voice Music
     


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Edited 03 August 2021
 

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