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Royal Hunt

Progressive Metal

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5 stars When I bought this CD I didn't know anything about the band or the music, or anything around that. I bought some of my old favorites of the Eighties on eBay and this seller also sold this CD. Because the seller was in the USA and I in Switzerland I thought to get as many CD's as possilbe (to save shipping) and this CD was one of those. But then I listened the CD the first time - AND: THIS IS THE BEST ALBUM I'VE EVER HEARD (This happened some years ago and I didn't change my meaning in the meantime). From the very start this sound satisfied my soul as no other CD before or since then. For your better understanding I have to say that I don't care about the lyrics or the meanings of the words at all, the only thing I want to hear is a good refrain which sticks between my ears forever and where I can sing along (when I feel to). This album is musically a concept album, which means it has some 'themes' which goes through the whole album, comparable with a movie soundtrack (for example the score of 'days of thunder', composed from hans zimmer, one of my other favorite CD's). First: This is an album and not songs putted together on a CD!!!! It opens with the titletrack (very unusual for a metal-cd but not for a score!). It's a song which lifts you up on a high level (which I didn't understand from the very start) but it is one of the worser songs on this CD (this means still 7/10). Faces of war is the next. It's faster than the opener and takes you a step further up. By the way - the whole album is very bombastic or symphonic (Prog-metal they say nowadays). Cold city lights follows next and it's a bit of a break in this epic masterpiece. It breaks open the standart theme of the whole album a bit and gives it a touch of 'normality'. This song brings the voice of the singer more to the lead and this has it's reason - then what comes next is the first and highest peak of the album - LIES. It's a very straight number, a headbanger first degree, interrupted by some few changes in speed with orchestral music or the great voice of the singer. The speed of the song is broken sometimes, but this leads you again in this absolutely outstanding mix of singing and playing with this absolute unforgettable refrain. Melodic, hard and fast as it must be. JUST PERFECT. Next one is Follow me, the ballad. It's for sure the right place for the ballad on this album. Again a perfect piece of music. Voice follows next which is the second peak on it, a straight metal-number where everything is at it's right place and again - the refrain is one of the best I know. Last song Sea of time is comparable to Cold city lights. Again and finally it breaks open the whole album again and leads you out of it perfectly. (To give you a better understanding of my music, here are 10 of the best albums ever: Rammstein - Mutter / Ozzy Osbourne - The ultimate sin / Cat Stevens - Best of / OST Score - Days of thunder / Joe Satriani - Surfing with the alien / Iron Maiden - Killers / Phenomena - Phenomena / Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime (if you like this album, you must hear Royal Hunt's Fear) / Overkill - Taking over / Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the deceiver)

Report this review (#6408)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars I was sure that after DC Cooper has left the band, Royal Hunt will not be the same anymore. His voice became a trademark of the band and I could not imagine another voice with Royal Hunt. But I had to and so I was pretty anxious what the new album will be like. I knew John West from his days with Artension and there was no doubt that he is a good vocalist, and therefore the new album cannot be a disappointment. And indeed it was not. I knew it as I heard the opening bass-drum duo in the first track "Fear"..and then the guitar joining..keyboard ..and vocals. It still is my favourite track from this album. The music has not changed compared to the previous records: it is the same well-composed and skillfully performed melodic metal with the unmistakable keyboard of Andre Andersen. John West rose to the occasion and delivered a great vocal performance. It is a very good album, but I still regret DC parting ways with the band.
Report this review (#81737)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars This is much a transitional CD. the public response to it at the time was kind of lukewarm. After all, american singer D C Cooper has left and his voice and stage persona became kind of a trademark for the band, which can be seen in the excellent 1996 DVD. And Fear came on the heels of Paradoxx, their best work so far. A hard act to follow, specially after such a great loss.

Hearing this album nowadays shows it was really a kind of step back, trying to find their ground and adapt to the new situation. The CD starts well with a great prog song, the title track. This is the best tune in the whole disc and a fine showcase for Andre Andersen's keyboards trickery. John West, another american singer, proves that, if he is not superior to D C Cooper, at least he can handle the very demanding vocal duties quite well. He has a very good voice.

The other tracks, sadly, are not up to Fear, though. They are not bad at all, in fact they are very good, but the album suffer for a little lack of direction. Royal Hunt seems to be going back to their past to find a way to go on. Cold City Lights hints their hard rock past and the chorus has a annoying similarity to Scorpions Big City Nights, while Lies jumps into a thrash metal guitar riff in the beginning. Voices is a good ballad, maybe a little repetitive in the last part. Faces of War and Voices are too similar to be on the same CD and Sea Of time ends with a rather melancolic note.

So, all in all, not a bad CD at all, but it is not essential either, specially if you remember it comes after the excellent Paradoxx. The band sounds just treading water here and would prove they were still able to do a fine prog work on the next release, The Mission.

Report this review (#100027)
Posted Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I gladly admit I have problems with symphonic progressive metal bands like Royal Hunt.

I cannot stand the vocals and the semi-hard sound. I cannot stand the sweetladen football terraces choirs too which this genre is so full of. Most of the symphonic progressive metal is also overburdened with a plastic digital sound and emotional songs which simply sounds false in my ears. Symphonic progressive metal is for young males with far too many testerone injections.

Fear has plenty of the things I detest. But thankfully, there is some good references to the likes of Rainbow here. That and the good keyboards is the only saving grace on this album. Fear is devoid of any good songs and that has become it's undoing in my ears. With no good songs, albums from this genre falls flat on it's face. But I am sure Royal Hunt is a good band. But Fear is not a good album. Hence my generously two stars.

2 stars

Report this review (#265896)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars This has the unenviable task of following fan favourite "Paradox", then add to that the fact that singer DC Cooper has just left the band and you'd figure this would become a whipping boy of sorts. John West takes up the vocals here.

"Fear" opens with spoken words before a good mid paced rhythm takes over. Not a fan of the orchestral keyboards at all. Vocals come in before 5 minutes as it settles. It does kick back in and that rhythm returns too. "Faces Of War" opens with a beat then the tempo picks up as the guitar comes in. Again it's orchestral-like. Reserved vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. It all kicks in fairly hard but there's too much prominance given to the keys. Guitar solo before 4 minutes.

"Cold City Lights" opens with orchestral keyboards and a heavy rhythm section. It settles and the vocals follow. Contrasts continue. "Lies" sounds good for the first time with those PRIEST-like guitars to open. It goes downhill from there. "Follow Me" is ballad-like with keys and syrupy vocals. "Voices" is orchestral to start as the tempo picks up and the vocals join in. Almost a Power-Metal rhythm here. "Sea Of Time" opens with church bells and other sounds before the music comes in and builds. Guitar then comes in leads nicely. Vocals follow.

Just not a fan of this style of music at all. Especially the orchestral sections and they are all over the place.

Report this review (#306297)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars i like DC Cooper's voice but before Paradox, Royal Hunt was not just good enough in my opinion. following up Paradox with a new singer was always going to be difficult, and Fear doesn't rate very highly amongst RH fans and reviewers alike. i can't imagine why:

"Fear" ? 9:38: great way to start an almost 10 minutes, Fear is one of the longest RH has done (probably the only longer song is Intervention?). progressive, dark, gripping.

"Faces of War" ? 6:56: in quite a large contrast to the first song, Faces of War is upbeat and frantic from the first note. catchy chorus, good riffs

"Cold City Lights" ? 5:23: a bit of a breather, not sure where they wanted to go. mid-tempo, meandering, not great.

"Lies" ? 7:44: awesome opening riff - almost thrash-like. never lets up through till almost 8 minutes.

"Follow Me" ? 6:22: the lyrics are the stand-out point for me on this one. "If pictures could talk there'd be too many voices, If sorrow could scream I'd be deaf in a day...", and the rest of the song is carried on these shoulders...

"Voices" ? 5:20: lively, upbeat song. a little too similar to "Faces of War", can never quite make out which one i'm listening to - but both are good so listen to them together and they make a 12-minute epic!

"Sea of Time" ? 7:44: melancholy and brooding...dont know if it was intentional but its almost like going full circle from the opener "Fear"...

good , strong album even if sometimes its not clear which direction the band wanted to go with it...

Report this review (#402106)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars ROYAL HUNT or how not to forget this epic prog metal classic omniesque album!

1. Fear wow the intro, it moves quite a bit between Hollywood sound effects, Lee in the distance, Valkyrie, a little Carmina, screams, bells, the 2 minutes are reached to bring us to a symphonic prog metal , oh the riff and the bass, it's strong and heavy, airy yet; we feel the cold in the austere plains, André's synth in front, the riff so yes we are still in the beginning, 5 minutes for John to come and put his suave voice; prog metal more here; most of all this Dantesque sound, this bass, this Scandinavian drums which cuts more than it hits for a grandiloquent air; synths with twirling violins; so why so many more well it's just perfect in the genre, put yourself aside, it's machine gunning 2. Faces of War follows, more metallic with a sound reminiscent of ARAGON; the symphonic keyboard with its volley of violins echoes the melodic metal of classical inspiration, heavy on light or how RONDO VENEZUELO comes to gig with them; a very good solo from Jacob then the progressive variation, the one that kills, sending the listener to the stratospheres, the bold, Olympian sound again; but how did this album miss out on musical stardom? The flights of sound are like a walk in a field in August and the raising of a flock of partridges! The cinematic finale before its time brings 3. Cold City Lights and its potential hit, deluge of hard FM sounds, well everything is said, you have to love this genre of the 80s and accept the much fuller sound; they do not invent but boost, they also put classical sampled instrumentation back in the spotlight; I find the dancing madness of BON JOVI on one side too; another worked ending leading without firing a shot 4. Lies for their hit album, much less progressive but showing their sonic state of mind; a neo-classical flight on a hard riff, a genre between the Holywood-metal dear to RHAPSODY and the progressive metal of DREAM THEATER; here everything is simpler, melodic, the riff is taken like a wave reminding you that in prog there is progress, advancement, opening and break; the heavy sound on a PRETTY MAIDS for those who follow, you see that it moves quite a bit; the break belongs to the hard brought directly, the keyboard of André, mastermind of the group, does the rest

5. Follow Me yes follow the John the one who replaced the famous DC Cooper, follow him for this super-vitaminized ballad, for this flight which always remains the suave-marshmallow title which breaks a little too much with the dynamite effect of the other titles ; the most is the dithyrambic keyboard solo followed by the guitar-epic one; brief rest 6. Voices then intervenes; yes we went back to the 16th and 17th centuries with classy orchestration; the soaring violins mingle with choirs from now on, the pure progressive spirit of the beginning of the album is lost in favor of a typical break, not bad in itself but much more predictable; now we are more on a sovereign MALMSTEEN than anything else, good but less blood 7. Sea of Time continues ah I breathe better again; the clock, the water, the bell, the cuckoo, this ethereal synth, this riff I find the ROYAL HUNT from the beginning; the progressive climb is that, hard or symphonic or something else, two minutes of pure happiness; John sets the tune going, sheared between riff and backing vocals for a grandiloquent final title, amplifying the big prog metal turbine sound; programmed break with guitar solo, but how well he strummed... and the arrival of the waterfall keyboard flooding our ears is pure joy; yes, a group apart who knew how to create a concept for this album to drink in one go even if the ending is more consensual.

Report this review (#2311822)
Posted Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permalink

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