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Royal Hunt - Paper Blood CD (album) cover

PAPER BLOOD

Royal Hunt

 

Progressive Metal

3.19 | 37 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I don't know how this album could've got 4.50 when is so awfully noisy! (well, besides the fact that I don't see any other review...)

Royal hunt is (was?) a very good band, sometimes standing near the threshold of greatness. The vocalist for the first albums was one of the most underrated (at least in terms of mentinioning: no one ever remembers him!) singers in metal and prog-metal (and prog for that matter): D.C. Cooper... after he departed, John West of Artension fame took his place and at first he really stood up to the challenge: he made a lot of fans forget the former's frontman departure. After a good debut (for him) album, Fear, came The Mission, a good effort. Then I lost track of this band for a while... I didn't get their latest (before this one), Eyewitness, so my re-encounter with the danish turned out to be Paper Blood.

Now, royal hunt had always been characterized by a fast, driving style of progressive- metal, with a lot of classical influence (from the baroque era), some New Wave of british Heavy Metal (mainly Maiden) thrown into the mix, but all of that dominated not by the sound of guitars, but by the sound of keyboards. As Andre Andersen, keyboard player, is the true "owner" of this band (writes most of the music and lyrics), his instrument, until now, had been the prevalent one in all Royal hunt albums.

But that keyboard-driven sound was a controlled, organized, melodious one. In the earlier records they use to have a lot of middle tempo songs with hard, heavy guitar riffs and powerful, heroic chords; sometimes the keyboards were used for atmosphere; when it came to soloing, you could hear every key and note that was being played, so crystal clear and well thought the Andersen solos used to be....Paradox was a masterpiece (that should get the recognition it deserves), Fear was a great follow-up, but all of this,

...is past history. For today's Royal Hunt is a complete mess made of, almost exclusively, ultra-lightning fast songs; today's RH is barely within the prog realm, today's RH is just a power speed metal band, with more predominance by the guitars than usual, and it's a shame because this was a keyboard band mainly. But at the same time, it is a sort of saving grace for RH that Andersen is no longer the only spotlight, for his playing today is just as irrelevant, muscular and no-brains as the music he's writing: light-speed solos where scales come and go, up and down....man, this album must hold the record for most scales per square minute! And a waste of minutes at that, for there's no melody in those solos, just boring, excruciating to listen scales. That happens with the songs, too: no great chorus (where's the River of Pain or Message to God from Paradox, Cold City lights or Faces of War from Fear?) in ANY of the tracks.... no good verses.... and John West.... Man!! Where's the fantastic singer we had in the last couple of albums? Yes, I think John West may have gone east here... (I couldn't resist to put this lame joke).... He's just yelling, screaming, sustainng notes...there's no singing.... but maybe is not his fault, for....WHAT MELODIES IS HE SUPPOSED TO BE SINGING, IF THERE ARE NONE HERE? The best track may well be the title track, if only because I remember how the chorus goes, or it could be that I remeber how the chorus goes because it's the title of the album in there, so there's no way of forgetting.

Atrocious. Atrocious for Royal Hunt. For regular speed power metal bands, it would be a mediocre effort; for such talented people as the ones that form this band, it's just horrendous.

Not recommended for: prog-metallers that like coherent, melody driven songs, musical solos, heroic choruses.

Recommended for: Racing fans, not formula one fans but NASCAR fans, for here's no variation in the ultra fast speed turns: it happens to be a round - oval track where the most important skill is not knowing when to accelerate and when to press the breaks, but how TO KEEP PRESSING THE ACCELERATOR FOR THE LONGEST possible time....but ultimately....even those fans will crash in this badly built circuit.

The T | 1/5 |

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