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Royal Hunt

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Royal Hunt Moving Target album cover
3.95 | 95 ratings | 11 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Last Goodbye (6:33)
2. 1348 (4:32)
3. Makin' A Mess (4:00)
4. Far Away (4:58)
5. Step By Step (5:11)
6. Autograph (3:36)
7. Stay Down (4:21)
8. Give It Up (4:01)
9. Time (4:53)

Total time 42:05

Bonus tracks on 1999 reissue:
10. Far Away (Accoustic) (4:36)
11. Double Conversation (4:18)
12. Wasted Time (Live) (6:29)
13. Flight (Live) (4:37)
14. Stranded (Live) (4:55)
15. Epilogue (Live) (7:37)

Line-up / Musicians

- D. C. Cooper / lead & backing vocals
- Jacob Kjaer / lead & acoustic (10) guitars
- André Andersen / keyboards, piano (6), rhythm guitar, producer
- Steen Mogensen / bass
- Kenneth Olsen / drums

- Maria McTurk / backing vocals
- Lise Hansen / backing vocals

Releases information

CD Kick Music ‎- KICKCD55 (1995, Denmark)
CD Steamhammer ‎- SPV 085-21102 CD (1999, Germany) With 6 bonus tracks - The "Far Away" EP

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ROYAL HUNT Moving Target ratings distribution

(95 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

ROYAL HUNT Moving Target reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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 naïve? 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.

Review by semismart
5 stars Superlative Sound! Limited Following?

Moving Target isn't just the best of the seven or eight Royal Hunt albums I own. It's also one of the top twnty albums in my extensive collection.

Danish progressive metal band, Royal Hunt is not really unheralded nor obscure but they certainly are underrated. Royal Hunt plays a melodic type of progressive metal of mostly medium to fast tempo. They have a large sometimes bombastic sound that is unique in the progressive genre. Also, not necessarily unique but certainly unusual, is the heavy use of keyboards (band leader/founder, Andre Andersen is a keyboardest), which together with the american singer, D.C. Cooper, gives the band a sound slightly like a progressive version of ASIA, a popular band of the 70s & 80s. D.C. Cooper subsequently left Royal Hunt after this release to pursue a solo career(his first solo release self-titled D.C. Cooper is very good). Subsequent Royal Hunt releases, also very good, have a capable replacement in John West.

Royal Hunt, while technically not superior to many of their better known contemporaries, such as Stratovarius or Symphony X, I find their music to be more, shall we say, user friendly. While I applaud the latter bands for their musicianship, Royal Hunt seems to be smoother, less jarring and the songwriting, I think, is superior and therefore easier to listen to.

I've had this CD for about three years, so I may not sound as enthusiastic as if I had just gotten it two weeks ago, instead of two years ago but I assure you this is a very, very solid album. This particular release has 15 songs and they are all top shelf. My favorite song by Royal Hunt is Fear on the Fear album but the overall quality of this album is better. Outstanding songs on this album are Time, Epilogue, Last Goodbye, 1348 and all the rest.

Royal Hunt seem to have a loyal but limited following here in the states. This is a shame because, as mentioned, they are at least as good as all of their better known contemporaries such as Rhapsody, Stratovarius,Symphony X and Dream Theater.

Telling you about Royal Hunt isn't the same thing as hearing them for yourself. If you trust me, buy this album or Paradox, or Fear, or Mission, or Watchers, you won't be disappointed, or find some way to hear one of them first, then buy one of them.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars This is my first introduction to the band. A good band from Denmark. I only have this one, so my rating is 4, because i don't have any albums from them to compare, i think this note is fare. A very good voice from DC Cooper, but the Keyboard player is the head of the band here. Try it, worth every track, specialy 1348 and the instrumental one. Good album, second best after Paradox.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars ROYAL HUNT are a metal band from Denmark who on this release have American D.C. Cooper on vocals.Their music is in the Power- Metal vein and very orchestral sounding. I'm not a big fan of either of those styles really. They aren't as epic-sounding as say BLIND GUARDIAN or as heavy as SYMPHONY X or KAMELOT.

"Last Goodbye" is very orchestral sounding as most of the songs are. The song quickly accellerates as vocals come in. The chorus is catchy with female backing vocals. Cooper is in fine form hitting those high notes. He ends the song by quoting the Lord's prayer. "1348" is similar to the opening track but slower. Some great axe work after 2 minutes followed by a keyboard solo. The background synths are a nice touch. "Makin' A Mess" is an uptempo tune with some prominant drumming. Guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. This is another catchy tune with backing vocals, and again very orchestral sounding.

"Far Away" has some great organ in this song. I love the sound 3 minutes in as the guitar and drum melody is excellent. There are QUEEN-like harmonies in a song that is hard not to like. Cooper is great ! "Step By Step" is a saucey song with guitar that almost speaks. Nice guitar solo after 3 minutes. "Autograph" is the only instrumental. A powerful melody that is led by piano, and the drums are amazing. "Stay Down" is my favourite track. This has some fantastic guitar to open, and it soars after 2 minutes as he follows it up with a nice solo. The background synths work well. "Give It Up" is an uptempo song with great vocals and guitar. "Time" starts slow but turns into a rocker. Some incredible guitar before 3 minutes.

So a good album no doubt, just not really my favourite style of music.

Review by progrules
4 stars My compliments for the reviewers of this site because they all recognize the impeccable performance by this band. The last few years I acquired several albums by this band, most of them really good but this one is outstanding. I was suprised to find out this band is really religious, quite unusual for a metal band but the songs with religious lyrics don't sound strange or odd to me. Apparently it's a combination that can work if done in the right way. Even though I'm not religious myself I consider it an interesting combination that really intrigues me.

Moving Target is an outstanding album with wonderful songs, hardly metal-like in many cases just energetic with beautiful melodies and of course an amazing vocalist (D C Cooper) and a terrific guitar player (Jacob Kjaer). Far away, 1348 and Time are fantastic examples but my absolute favourite is Stay Down. This is a heavenly song, even for this one alone I would recommend this to lovers of melodic heavy music especially if you're also fond of great guitar solos.

So with all these superlatives you might expect the masterpiece status but I have to say, it just isn't. To me it suits the 4 star description of "Excellent addition to any prog collection" (and even a little bit better). So 4,5 rounded down to 4.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Moving Target is the third full-length studio album by Danish symphonic heavy rock/ metal act Royal Hunt. While the two predecessors Land of Broken Hearts (1992) and The Clown In The Mirror (1993) both featured excellent musicianship and strong compositions they didn´t exactly have excellent professional productions. The sound was not bad but then again it wasn´t really good either. That element has been fixed on Moving Target and to my ears this album sounds more professional than both predecessors. There´s been a significant lineup change since the last album as lead vocalist Henrik Brockmann has left to be replaced by American vocalist D.C. Cooper. D.C. Cooper was one of the finalists when Judas Priest auditioned for replacements for Rob Halford. A spot that ended up being taken by Tim Ripper Owens.

The music is symphonic and very melodic heavy rock/ metal. There are a few progressive elements in the music but nothing overtly experimental or innovative. The opener Last Goodbye is probably the most progressive song on the album. The music is dominated by main composer/ keyboardist/ producer André Andersen´s neo-classical inspired keyboard playing but the songs are very song oriented and D.C. Cooper´s strong voice and skilled use of it is also a dominant part of the music. Allthough there are solos on the album and an instrumental track in Autograph don´t expect extented instrumental sections in the songs. This is basically simple vers/ chorus build music. There were lots of grand choirs on the two predecessors from Royal Hunt and on Moving Target we are again treated with grand backing choirs. This time they are not male though but instead Maria McTurk and Lise Hansen has been brought in to sing female backing vocals.

The musicianship is excellent. André Andersen is a true virtuoso on the keyboard. I´m thinking Jens Johansson ( Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio, Stratovarius) at times and that´s quite a praise in my world. The rest of the band are tight and well playing as well and I´d call D.C. Cooper´s inclusion an improvement as well even though I did enjoy Henrik Brockmann´s voice too.

The production is professional and powerful. Finally André Andersen made the right sound for the band.

While I´m not a big fan of this kind of symphonic heavy rock/ metal I can acknowledge when something is done right and professional. This is a good album in the symphonic heavy rock/ metal tradition and it fully deserves a BIG 3 star rating. For fans of the genre this might rank a bit higher though so take that into consideration when you read my review.

Review by Isa
4 stars |B| One of prog metal's most underrated albums.

Moving Target was my introduction to the music of Royal Hunt, one of the better yet somewhat unknown bands of prog metal. This was another album my brother bought when he was way into power metal, and at first I dismissed this album as just another cliche power metal album, but every time I came back listening to it I liked it a little more and noticed more of the classical nuances. Now it's at the point where this is really one of my favorite albums from this sort of prog, which is similar to other neoclassical/power/prog metal bands Kamelot and Symphony X. Many of the arrangements found in this album are quite breathtaking, to say the least, and overall they create an incredibly solid album, definitely among the band's best.

Each track on the album is pretty consistent in song structure, probably the least progressive quality of the album. Even though the songs aren't the eight to twelve minute lengths I'm used to with much prog metal, each track is packed with musicality and intelligent, cohesive composition. Probably the most prominent instruments driving the band's material throughout the album are the IMMENSE keyboard work by Anderson (I would have sworn there were two keyboardists in the band putting this stuff together, but it's all just him!) and D.C. Cooper's brilliant vocals that really makes the band sore in terms of emotional heights. The guitar style definitely hints at early power metal styles that were especially pioneered by bands such as Scorpions and Savatage, only further developed to have a very epic and polished sound, all the while avoiding the annoying repetitious cliches that infect most otherwise decent power metal bands such as Stratovarious. Probably the best thing about the songs here is the shear amount of atmospheric nuances and attention to detail to the point of achieving perfection in the production without sacrificing the passionate, emotional aspect of the music, something that rarely happens in the production of even most competent albums. The use of reverb, of acoustic guitar and the female chorus, everything just seems to fall perfectly in place. My favorite tracks are 1348, Far Away, and Step by Step. Step by Step is really one of the most unique prog metal songs I've ever heard, combining early swing style jazz writing with metal, which is definitely something that should be tapped into more often.

Overall a very fine album that every prog metal head should have in their collection, and that most proggers overall should at least check out. If you're a fan of the combination of classical and metal music, and especially if you're already into any of the other bands I've mentioned in this review, this is an album you MUST hear. Four big stars for this sweet one!

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Symphonic power metal, whatever. It invokes great memories in me. And power element of it (I'm not able to deny it)) is just a meaning how to deliver the message. Anybody reading this happens to know Warcraft II. (good old game from 1995) ? If so, then let me state that this music reminds me it a lot. So let's back to this music, guitar / keyboard solos are the reason why I like it so much. Especially this neo-classical (medieval like keyboards) feeling. Getting melody and prog together always worked with me, so I'm not gonna pass this time.

5(-), and I feel strong in guts dear readers, this is really gem. Without bad moment.

Latest members reviews

3 stars I bought this album after owning 'The Clown in the Mirror' for couple of months. Before listening 'Clown in the Mirror' I didn't know what to expect. I had not heard the band much. I wasn't disappointed (no expectattions, heh), but it wasn't that great either. I listened the album over and ove ... (read more)

Report this review (#83466) | Posted by The Squirrel | Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I think this is the best Royal Hunt album. The music its beautiful, a strong songwriting. It starts with "Last Goodbye" maybe the greatest RH song. "1348" it's a great song too, and all the songs, Far Away, Time, Stay down, one of the bonus Restless, are just perfect. If you want to hear RH, stra ... (read more)

Report this review (#6405) | Posted by | Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very good! DC Cooper one of the bests singers of the world, his voice is very cool. The music of Royal Hunt is very based in the keys, its cool, but sometimes must be heavier. Last Goodbye, the best song of the band! ... (read more)

Report this review (#6400) | Posted by | Sunday, February 1, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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