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Royal Hunt - Paradox CD (album) cover

PARADOX

Royal Hunt

 

Progressive Metal

4.21 | 94 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progbethyname
5 stars ROYAL HUNT CREATE AN EXCEPTIONAL CONCEPT ALBUM FULL OF INTRIGUE AND WONDERMENT. 

As I listened to Royal Hunt's Paradox album I found myself shaking my head in disbelief due to just how incredible the storyline is and how the storyline was expressed musically. Royal Hunt have created an album that has a fusing of many different genres of prog rock, and it should be noted that Paradox is not just progressive Metal album strictly. I found myself hearing traces of folk/Art Rock, Neo and even some Crossover prog in this album. Paradox really is a wonderful blend of musical styles, but it does take to being more of a progressive Metal album than anything else. It's just nice to have  and hear the variety though. ;)

As for the concept of Paradox's storyline a lot of it is open to one's own interpretation, but here is what I gathered from it myself. 

A deeply religious man, who is 30 years of age has just killed a King of great ruling in his country and has escaped and seeked refuge in an old church on very dark and rainy night (this adds to the atmosphere) to escape further judgment and punishment for his crimes. Turns out, The King was a very bad ruler and was a man who was deeply oppressing the people of where this man (the Kingslayer) lived, which I think is 18th century England. Meanwhile The Kingslayer, who can't live with the guilt feels that he has mortally sinned and seeks answers and forgiveness from god due him killing the King of his country. 

What I found most fascinating is by how The Kingslayer goes through a whole ontological argument with God by justifying his actions at first (Silent Scream, Tearing down the World) and then later succumbing full tilt to the guilt and punishment he thinks he'll receive ( Time Will Tell, It's Over, Long Way Home.) All in all, it's a very clear story that examines the pitfalls of religion and the philosophical paradox where by can violence be a justifiable action to protect the one's you love while restoring peace and order for the greater good of humanity under the eyes of God? And will their still be a place in God's kingdom of Heaven if one does take another's life?  A Paradox indeed. ;) Religion can really twist up an individual if you ask me. 'Judas, come take me now!' as were the final words of our protagonist in this story. 

Furthermore, speaking from a musical point of view on The Paradox album I must say, that it is just as every bit as brilliant and compelling as the concept (storyline itself.) I absolutely love D.C Cooper's vocals and keyboards, especially on the track 'Silent Scream' where vocally you can just feel the emotion of D.C's Kingslayer character hauling off on God with such disdain and remorse all at the same time! A lovely point of entry to showcase D.C Cooper's incredible vocal abilities where he does remind me so much of the likes of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) and Mathias Blad (Falconer) vocal styles/abilities. A very incredible combination if you ask me. Not to mention, Andre Andersen's keyboards are very versatile by how they sound like old and new styles of the Neo Prog genre and this is largely portrayed on tracks, Time Will Tell and Silent Scream. There is even some flute/mellotron notes as well. Very lovely for the listener. Also, I adore the bass playing by Steen Mogensen on River of Pain. The Bass just thumps so beautifully in your ear with a groove like feel to it. As for the Guitar it is a shared duty from creator/song Writer/Keyboardist Andre Anderson who is by far the leader of the group, and Jacob Kjaer. The Guitar work is sensational from both these players. You get killer riffs, epic solos and some soft acoustic guitar playing as well. It's an absolute treat and the solo on Time Will Tell at around the 2:50min mark is absolutely fantastic including the Keyboard/Synth solo that follows it up by Andersen. Lastly, the drums are very much in vein of a typical Prog Metal style by Allan Sorensen, where by playing fast, furious and very technical are the main proponents of style. Not much new there for me, but sounds awesome none the less!

Ergo, what I can say with all my heart is that Paradox is a masterpiece of an album. It makes you think based on the merits of its incredible storyline, and of course the musicianship is incredibly strong where by it poses itself to be a very accessible listen based on the catchy, radio friendly choruses and the wisps of soft-melodic keyboards and guitars as well on some songs.   To me, Paradox is an album that has absolutely everything and it is very well composed and written by Mr. Andersen himself. It even has some deeply melodic Choir orchestrations and strings added to some of the songs. Why ask for more? Backing vocals and strings in Prog Metal excite me very much and it is not commonly done. 

 It is also worth mentioning that the Paradox album comes with an onslaught of bonus tracks as well, which are utterly brilliant. You get to hear superb Radio Edit versions of Time Will Tell, Message To God and my favourite Silent Scream. And thats not all, your ears will be delighted with a very accessible and catchy version of the Awakening called 'Martial Arts' which the 1:49min track literally does Kung-foo kicks in your ears due to the blinding speed it's played at. Its just a fun and simple instrumental. Also, the Most Radio friendly song,'Restless' (3:20min) which actually fits into the storyline of the Paradox album! Restless is a song that sounds very much like an 80's pop song, but I actually really love it. Love when Cooper sings the lyrics 'who will remember me whhhheeeen I aaaam gone!' beautiful stuff and I love the Crossover Prog style they bring with this particular song. 

In Conclusion, I cannot think of a better album to recommend to someone who really is searching for versatilely and diversity in a progressive metal album, which I as said does carry an onslaught of other Prog genres as well. Paradox easily fits the Masterpiece rating entitlement and I will be giving this album many more listens for many more years to come. I can only hope Paradox LI will be just as good, but that will be a tough feat to top. 

5 very progacious devil horns out 5. Easily.  

progbethyname | 5/5 |

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