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Royal Hunt - 1996 CD (album) cover

1996

Royal Hunt

 

Progressive Metal

4.78 | 13 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Oh my, I remember buying this VHS at the end of 1997, right after I got to know this fantastic multinational band. It had around three hours of running time: the entire 2 hour concert, plus backstage scenes, interviews, the video for Wasted Time, the making up of that video and other touring shots. It was recorded during their Moving Target tour and features most of the songs from that album, plus a lot of earlier stuff More than anything else this video shows that the band was very fortunate to have chosen american singer D. C. Cooper to replace the original danish frontman Henrik Brockman. Because if Brockman was very good, then Cooper was simply brilliant. Not only he had a better, more versatile voice, but he was also a great stage performer, helding the audience at the palm of his hand throughout the show.

Certainly the rest of the band was not far behind. Indeed I was really amazed not only by their incredible skill and professionalism, but also for their energy and moving around. And, for the icing on the cake, the two backing singers provide for Cooper many terrific three part harmony singing that really set them apart (no, it was not country-ish, but very unique). Put it together with a strong set list and you have one of the best live performances I´ve seen in my life. Although Cooper was really a newcomer, it is very clear that the band was cooking by the time they recorded this concert. So it is not surprising that they recorded their best album ever, Paradox, right after this tour (unfortunately without drummer Kenneth Olsen, who quit before the recordings started). I really enjoyed Andre Andersen figure surrounded by keyboards in a pose that is striking similar to that one of Rick Wakeman. But sound-wise Andersen has a unique style of songwriting and playing.

Highlights? The blistering rendition of Stranded, the symphonic progressiveness of 1348 and the powerful and inspired performance for Epilogue comes in mind as the best moments in an excellent show. The three songs played in the acoustic set are also a plus, the band proving they could make Age gone Wild sound much more superior than any other version they had made of this tune. Even a lesser song like Time shines after they provide a new vocal intro. There are some solo moments, but they are all short ones and unbelievably, the weaker is Jacob Kjaer´s guitar solo (not a bad one, though). Bass and drums solos are linked together in a very nice duel that is really more interesting than those boring ones we have all seen too much.

In recent years I´ve seen this concert appear as a DVD bootleg, unfortunately without all the extras. I really hope they will release a complete, remastered, version of this outstanding release. It showed the world one of the most original and interesting bands to surface in the 1990s. Their mixture of melodic hard rock, symphonic prog and traditional heavy metal, plus those vocal harmonies is something never heard of, even if their music is quite accessible. Royal Hunt is really one of a kind

Rating: something between 4.5 and 5 stars. Highly recommended!

Tarcisio Moura | 5/5 |

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