ROYAL HUNT

Progressive Metal • Denmark
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Royal Hunt is a melodic progressive metal group from Copenhagen, Denmark, formed in 1989. Their strength lies in the songwriting skills of the band chief André Andersen who plays the keyboards and occasionally other instruments (on the debut album he also handled the guitars.)

So far the band has released 10 studio albums, 3 official live albums, 5 EPs. The debut, Land of Broken Hearts, came in 1992, and the newest one, X, in 2010.

Royal Hunt's line-up has changed many times during the years. Most notable thing being that they have had four different vocalists: Henrik Brockmann(who later joined Evil Masquerade) on the first two albums, D.C. Cooper (Silent Force etc.) on the next two and John West (Artension) who came in 1999 and has stayed in the band until March, 17th, 2007. On December, 13th, 2007, the band announced Mark Boals to be the new vocalist for Royal
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ROYAL HUNT Discography

ROYAL HUNT albums / top albums

ROYAL HUNT Land of Broken Hearts album cover 3.88 | 8 ratings
Land of Broken Hearts
Progressive Metal 1992
ROYAL HUNT Clown in the Mirror album cover 3.83 | 6 ratings
Clown in the Mirror
Progressive Metal 1993
ROYAL HUNT Moving Target album cover 3.13 | 10 ratings
Moving Target
Progressive Metal 1995
ROYAL HUNT Paradox album cover 3.43 | 17 ratings
Paradox
Progressive Metal 1997
ROYAL HUNT Fear album cover 4.14 | 7 ratings
Fear
Progressive Metal 1999
ROYAL HUNT The Mission album cover 3.78 | 8 ratings
The Mission
Progressive Metal 2001
ROYAL HUNT Eyewitness album cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
Eyewitness
Progressive Metal 2003
ROYAL HUNT Paper Blood album cover 3.95 | 7 ratings
Paper Blood
Progressive Metal 2005
ROYAL HUNT Collision Course: Paradox II album cover 2.96 | 8 ratings
Collision Course: Paradox II
Progressive Metal 2008
ROYAL HUNT X album cover 3.33 | 11 ratings
X
Progressive Metal 2010
ROYAL HUNT Show Me How To Live album cover 3.41 | 12 ratings
Show Me How To Live
Progressive Metal 2011
ROYAL HUNT A Life To Die For album cover 3.62 | 4 ratings
A Life To Die For
Progressive Metal 2013
ROYAL HUNT Devil's Dozen album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Devil's Dozen
Progressive Metal 2015
ROYAL HUNT Dystopia album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Dystopia
Progressive Metal 2020
ROYAL HUNT Dystopia - Part II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dystopia - Part II
Progressive Metal 2022

ROYAL HUNT EPs & splits

ROYAL HUNT The Watchers album cover 3.00 | 4 ratings
The Watchers
Progressive Metal 2001

ROYAL HUNT live albums

ROYAL HUNT 1996 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1996
Progressive Metal 1996
ROYAL HUNT Double Live in Japan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Double Live in Japan
Progressive Metal 1997
ROYAL HUNT Paradox: Closing the Chapter album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Paradox: Closing the Chapter
Progressive Metal 1998
ROYAL HUNT 2006 Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
2006 Live
Progressive Metal 2006

ROYAL HUNT demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

ROYAL HUNT re-issues & compilations

ROYAL HUNT Heart of the City album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Heart of the City
Progressive Metal 2012

ROYAL HUNT singles (4)

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The Maxi - Single
Progressive Metal 1993
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Far Away
Progressive Metal 1995
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Message to God
Progressive Metal 1997
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Intervention
Progressive Metal 2000

ROYAL HUNT movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

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Royal Hunt 2006 Live
Progressive Metal 2006

ROYAL HUNT Reviews

ROYAL HUNT Moving Target

Album · 1995 · Progressive Metal
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SilentScream213
A blast of an album, a very early example of the Sympho Neoclassical style of Metal. This is the band’s third album, and it’s got a very professional sheen to it. Despite Royal Hunt never gaining much popularity, they were at the forefront of catchy, poppy, bombastic Metal, a scene that eventually became the main style in Japan.

This album has a ton of stylistic influences that keep it varied and interesting. There’s enough Power Metal speed to pack a proper punch to the more energetic tracks, and plenty of AOR cheese adding poppy melodies and hooks all over the place. Of course the Neoclassical lead work is evident in both the guitars and keys, and tons of great melodies are scattered throughout. It sounds a bit too much like Malmsteen’s lesser works at times, but I think this band is overall much more consistent than Malmsteen.

As someone who generally loves cheesy Metal ballads, “Far Away” is not the best one, and the band made a mistake including this song twice on the album (an acoustic version as the last track). Otherwise the album is quite consistent and great fun front to back.

ROYAL HUNT The Watchers

EP · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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lukretion
Dubbed “the longest EP in history” (at nearly 70 minutes of length), The Watchers is an EP released by Danish melodic prog metallers Royal Hunt to accompany the release of their 6th full-length album The Mission. The EP contains one new track that was not included on The Mission but is part of the same concept (a musical soundtrack for the book "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury about the colonization of Mars by Americans who flee the troubled, war-ridden Planet Earth). The EP also contains four live tracks and four re-recordings of songs taken from the band’s earlier albums. Seven of these eight songs are particularly interesting because they feature for the first time new singer John West who had joined the band only two years prior, following the departure of the band’s previous, much beloved singer DC Cooper.

The previously unreleased track, “Intervention”, appears on the EP in two versions (a full version and a radio-edit version). The full version is a great, 14-minute epic, proggy track that in my opinion is almost better than any of the songs that were actually included on The Mission album. The track moves through different, recurring parts, some of which instrumental while others feature the great John West at the mic. His singing here, as on The Mission, is impeccable: warm, soulful but powerful and epic when needed. The song features a very nice chorus that reminds me of the Paradox album, partly because of its lyrics describing an imaginary dialogue with God. The whole song is actually more in the spirit of the music the band released on Moving Target/Paradox (symphonic, mid-tempo, classically-inspired prog rock/metal) than the more metallic and fast-tempo songs included on The Mission. This perhaps explains why “Intervention” was left out of the full-length release since, sonically, it does not match the rest of the tracks of that album very well. The song also sounds better produced than the material released on The Mission, whose sound I found a bit too compressed, thin and plasticky. The drum sound in particular is much improved as it feels less artificial and processed than the sound on The Mission album (drummer Allan Sørensen is credited a playing on the EP, while he did not appear on the full-length album). Overall, this is an awesome track that alone is worth the price of the EP.

The other tracks are live or re-recorded versions of songs from earlier albums, mostly Paradox, Clown in the Mirror and Land of Broken Hearts. The most interesting aspect of these tracks, as I mentioned earlier, is that these are among the first recordings of these songs with John West behind the mic. West is an amazing singer, there’s no doubt about it. However, his voice is quite special - warm, bluesy, and soulful - and it truly shines when the music gives him space to breathe and he can explore the space between the notes. Some of these earlier songs have been written for a different type of vocalist, like DC Cooper, whose performance is much tighter and more sober. The same goes for the earlier songs written for the band’s original singer Henrik Brockmann who sang on Royal Hunt’s first two albums. This is to say that, although it is interesting to listen to John West performing tracks taken from the band’s first four albums, the outcome is not as amazing as one would have perhaps expected. Especially on the live versions of “Flight” (from Land of Broken Hearts) and “Message to God” (from Paradox), West sounds a bit uncomfortable and out of place. He lacks the grit that Brockmann put in his performance and the tightness of DC Cooper. He does better on “Epilogue” (from Clown in the Mirror) that is indeed a more spacious song that is more apt to West's expressive, modulated vocals. The same applies to the studio re-recordings, where West appears more in his element on soulful tracks like “Clown in the Mirror” than “One by One” (from Land of Broken Hearts).

Despite this, The Watchers remains a nearly-essential release if you are a Royal Hunt fan. The unreleased track left off The Mission is worth alone the purchase of the EP, being a song that is probably superior to all the material released on that full-length album. The live and re-recorded tracks are interesting because of the presence of the new singer John West and more generally because they contain some of the most beautiful tracks the band has ever written (“Message to God”, “Epilogue”, “Clown in the Mirror”, “Legion of the Damned”).

[Originally posted on www.metal-archives.com]

ROYAL HUNT The Mission

Album · 2001 · Progressive Metal
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lukretion
The Mission is the ambitious 6th full-length album by Danish melodic prog metallers Royal Hunt. Based on the book "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury, The Mission is a conceptual piece of work consisting of 13 interconnected tracks, each revisiting a chapter in Bradbury's book about the colonization of Mars by Americans who flee the troubled, war-ridden Planet Earth. Of these 13 tracks, five are actually short interludes (mostly instrumental), so there are only seven "proper" tracks on the album. Some may feel this falls a bit on the short side of what a full-length should be, but I do not mind as the alternation between shorter and longer tracks actually works well in terms of the storytelling the concept album sets out to do.

Musically, the album follows in the footsteps of previous Royal Hunt's releases, albeit with a few surprises and tweaks to their trademark sound. The songs are still firmly rooted in the classically-inspired blend of melodic progressive metal the band has been playing since their beginnings. The classical music influences are most evident in the song structures and in the way the bass, drums, guitars and keyboards play contrapuntal melodies and rhythms that bring to mind the way instruments are used in a typical classical orchestra. The progressive elements lie more in the contamination of influences (classical music, metal, hard rock) and in the ambition of the concept than in the mere display of technical wizardry (though in each song there is ample space for dazzling guitar and keyboard solos by Andre Andersen and Jacob Kjaer). As in all Royal Hunt's releases, The Mission retains a strong focus on the vocals, which are the "instrument" of choice for carrying the main melody of the songs. On The Mission, John West makes his second appearance with the band after his debut on Fear. John has a splendid voice, deep and soulful but at the same time powerful and with incredible range. On The Mission, his performance is very strong, especially on the most melodic tracks like the ballad "Days of No Trust".

However, The Mission also shows some elements of progression relative to the typical Royal Hunt's sound. Frist, at various places Andre Andersen experiments with a swathe of futuristic sounds on his keyboards that are unusual for his style and refreshing, and sit well with the sci-fi theme of the album. The way the backing vocals are processed (very compressed, almost alien-sounding) also keeps in line with the concept. The drums also sound quite plasticky and processed. This may be again intended, to give a more futuristic feel to the music, or the result of the fact that the band actually used sampled drums on the album, this is not clear to me (drummer Allan Sørensen quit the band just before the recordings of the album, two guest drummers are mentioned in the album credits list, Kim Johanneson and Kenneth Olsen, but I am not convinced they actually played on the record). Either way, the drum sound is not fantastic on this album and, more generally, the album sounds a bit too compressed and thin, especially by today's (2021) standards.

Another difference is that The Mission features more muscular, hard-hitting and fast-tempo songs relative to a Royal Hunt's typical album. In fact, The Mission may be the most "metal" record the band has released up to this point in their career. Tracks like "World Wide War" or "Total Recall" would not sit out of place in a progressive/power metal album, actually. Unfortunately, I feel that, with this shift towards more metallic musical territories, Royal Hunt lose a bit of the "magic" that one can instead find on their more symphonic rock oriented albums like Clown in the Mirror, Moving Target or Paradox. Another problem I have with The Mission is that the tracks tend to be a little bit too homogeneous, there is not much variation across the seven longer tracks of the album ("Days of No Trust" is probably the track that stands out the most because it represents a change of pace and style compared to the other six). On the positive side, this again sits well with the interconnected, concept-based nature of the tracks. But, on the other hand, this uniformity makes The Mission an album that is a tad less adventurous and exciting to listen to.

Overall, for these reasons, The Mission is not my favourite Royal Hunt's record. It is nevertheless a strong album by a band that at the time was at the apex of their creative powers, and remains today one of the finest in the band's catalogue.

[Originally posted on www.metal-archives.com]

ROYAL HUNT Paradox

Album · 1997 · Progressive Metal
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Warthur
Royal Hunt's paradox finds the prog metal pioneers on fine form, with the band at points capturing the stateliness and majesty of the most refined classical music in a metal context. Their house style of prog metal is based less on technicality than the likes of Dream Theater, and includes some power metal influences here and there, but somehow they avoid taking things in a cheesy direction but maintain an appropriately rich and evocative tone for the deep subject matter they attempt to tackle. Keyboardist Andre Andersen is the star player, with an orchestral touch to his keyboards which really brings the album's sound together.

ROYAL HUNT A Life To Die For

Album · 2013 · Progressive Metal
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J-Man
DC Cooper's return to Royal Hunt for the release of 2011's Show Me How to Live reignited interest in this Danish progressive metal band for many listeners, and with 2013's A Life to Die For, that interest is likely to remain ignited. Royal Hunt's twelfth album doesn't deviate much from their established blend of neo-classical power metal, melodic hard rock, and progressive metal, but the songwriting here is strong enough to make for a solid listen from start to finish.

Although the title track and "Hell Comes Down From Heaven" easily stand out as highlights (I've always found that Royal Hunt's best compositions tend to be their longest), the rest of A Life to Die For is well-written and well-played. Keyboardist André Andersen's detailed symphonic arrangements are quite impressive, and DC Cooper's vocal performance demonstrates why he is such a fan favorite when it comes to melodic progressive metal.

Royal Hunt's bombastic and symphonic approach to progressive metal doesn't usually connect with me on the same level that bands like Fates Warning and Dream Theater do, but there's no doubt that these Danes are really good at playing the music that they play. Fans of Royal Hunt will definitely want to check out A Life to Die For, and this isn't a bad place for newcomers to start their journey either.

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