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Royal Hunt - Moving Target CD (album) cover


Royal Hunt


Progressive Metal

3.95 | 95 ratings

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5 stars This album represents my first introduction to the band sometime in 2000, I think. It really blew me the first time I listened to it at the record shop in Jakarta. This might not be categorized under progressive music but I like it very much. It's a blend of pop-rock, metal, symphonic and neo-classical music. One think for sure, all tracks presented in this album are all excellent - melodious, most of them upbeat keyboard-based music with some flavor of rocking electric guitar. The band is led by Andre Andersen (keys and guitars) backed up by DC Cooper (voice), Jacob Kjaer (guitars), Kenneth Olsen (drums) and Steen Mogensen (bass). The music of ROYAL HUNT is unique in terms of keyboard sounds that create violin / cello sounds so that overall it seems like an orchestra behind their music. You will find also the influence of classical music in keyboard sound. It's interesting and very enjoyable music. I almost like all of their albums, regardless they are prog or not. Their music is so inspiring.

The album starts with an upbeat track "Last Goodbye" which has a symphonic keyboard intro. The intro part provides orchestral nuances created and played skillfully by Andersen's keyboard. The orchestral arrangement serves as rhythm when vocal line enters the scene. It's a very nice combination of music and vocal with tasty melodies. The keyboard solo played at interlude is stunning and it reaches its climax when the high points were performed at the end of the interlude and the music goes back to original rhythm. Really cool.

At the end of first track, there is a short narration followed by the intro of 2nd track "1348", a tiny symphonic keyboard sound and a backing vocal sound "Future's coming from the past/ Who's first and who's last". It continues with simple drumming and dazzling keyboard accentuating the intro. Great opening. Well, I don't really understand why this track is not titled as "1248" as the lyrics says "December 48". It seems like a song about history - it tells the impacts of war. "Crowd in front of the heaven's gate / December 48". It's an excellent track played in a medium tempo.

The third track "Makin' a Mess" is very uplifting lyrically and musically. It has speed and power - performed in a power metal tempo using double pedal drums accompanied with great orchestral keyboard and stunning electrical guitar. In some parts the music stops and only vocal line with clavinet and returns back to original tagline rhythm. "Who needs a crown when your head's on the ground / Let me out I'm just makin' a mess". It's really an energetic track; wonderfully crafted!

The 4th track "Far Away" is a mellow track with great voice and symphonic composition. The use of keyboard in this track especially during interlude reminds me to LED ZEPPELIN's "Kashmir" with a stunning and melodious keyboard solo. It's a kind of track that people tend to like it very much as it has some pop elements and harmonious melody. Again, you will find an orchestral, symphonic keyboard sound performed in neo- classical style. Electric guitar is also played very nice here - even though its role is more on accentuating the music.

Fifth track "Step by Step" is opened with a nice and simple guitar riffs coupled with keyboards sound. The music is played in an upbeat rhythm with some nice and smooth shifting tempos. One thing that makes this track enjoyable is the keyboard style that is played wonderfully with great melody when vocal says "Step by Step". The other interesting part is the electric guitar solo, it's relatively short but it's so stunning especially in filling-up the ending bars.

The sixth track "Autograph" is an instrumental track performed in high tempo with a very strong influence of classical music. It starts with a classical piano solo followed by symphonic rock music in an upbeat tempo. You will find an interesting keyboard shifting style and tempo. When the tempo changes to a rather mellow rhythm, the keyboard touch is really wonderful. It's totally a classical music influence. It finally comes back to high tempo with some piano sound at the background followed by music riffs.

"Stay Down" is an upbeat rhythm with some electric guitar solo before vocal line. The bass line is interesting at beginning as it appears clearly to fills in the bars. This time the keyboard sounds are played rather soft and electric guitar is played to fill solo work at interlude part. Again, I find the inclusion of some keyboard touches at the end of some bars really make the character of ROYAL HUNT's music.

It continues seamlessly to next track "Give it Up", another uplifting track with plain keyboard during rhythm section. When the music moves to another tempo, as usual, the keyboard plays key role in creating orchestral nuances. Again, this time the interlude part is given to electric guitar with nice combination of keyboard solo followed by vocal and backing vocal voices until it fades away.

The last track "Time" is different with other tracks. This time, the intro part is given to a simple acoustic guitar fills plus vocal line. It seems a mellow track. But hold on . the vocal line is suddenly moving high when DC Cooper sings " . and running out of time" (wow! In this part he sings really excellently, in a high voice!). The music then flows to, guess what? - a power metal rhythm again! (as the "Makin' a mess" track). Again, you will find the double pedal bass drum dominates the music - coupled with a dazzling keyboard play. The track concludes with uplifting keyboard and drumming - it fades away .

As far as the album concerned, it has 9 studio tracks as I elaborate on the above write- up. However, the CD that I got is SPV 085-21102 release where it has 6 additional tracks (studio and live). All the bonus tracks are excellent! They are:

10. Far Away (acoustic version) - it's really great composition! 11. Double Conversation - an instrumental track with nice classical keyboard dominates the music. This track should go to the album. It's so wonderful! 12. Wasted Time - a track from previous album performed live (great keyboard intro!). 13. Flight - a very dynamic track from previous album performed live. Great power metal. 14. Stranded - ditto. 15. Epilogue - my favorite live track, performed live excellently.

Given the kind of music this "Moving Target" has offered us, I will definitely love the band if they still maintain the music of this kind or the music that the push forward. I even really want to see them alive in one of their gigs. It's one of my dreams to see them on stage and I'm sure I will sing along during the time of the show. Definitely!

Overall, I rate this CD (with 6 bonus tracks) 5/5. The reasons of giving this rating are: 1. It has a very strong songwriting 2. Each song is well composed 3. Each song is well positioned in its entire album giving us high and low points and ultimate enjoyment (I don't even wnt to stop the CD until the last track "Epilogue" - yeah man, this concluding track is marvelous!) 4. Great musicianship. 5. Excellent production. Am I so na´ve? I don't think so, as I have had this album couple years already. In giving the rating, I exclude the fact whether or not this band is progressive. In fact, it's here. So, I give what I think the band deserves.

Gatot | 5/5 |


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