Yngwie Malmsteen. The guitar playing isn't as fancy as Yngwie, but the keyboard playing especially reminded me of him. However, the vocal melodies are much more commercial, and catchy. The heavier tracks like "Running Wild," "Flight" and "Kingdom Dark" are all quite good, although there are a few well written ballads as well ("Age Gone Wild" and "Land of Broken Hearts"). Henrik Brockmann's mid-range vocals fit well the music quite well. His vocal melodies along with the layered backing vocals were quite impressed. My only real complaint is that the guitars are mixed in the background, rather than being out front where I'd prefer to hear them. Andre Anderson doubles as the band's guitarist and keyboardist for this disc, so I can't understand why there wasn't a more even mix between the two instruments.
Royal Hunt - Moving Target (Magna Carta) 1995
1. "Last Goodbye"
With this album came arrival of singer D. C. Cooper. Their sound finds itself somewhere between early 90's Fates Warning and Shadow Gallery, or basically progressive metal. Since I am unfamiliar with their earlier cd, I can't really say how much the band improved from those album, but according to several other albums I read, this disc is a vast improvement over "Clown In The Mirror." Apparently, from what I have read, the sound and production is heavier than "Clown In The Mirror" as well. Well, what I do know for sure is that this is a high quality progressive metal release. Heavy at times, melodic at others. Dynamic songwriting. Killer vocals. I was hooked by the first two tracks. What distinguishes this disc from many other prog-metal bands is that the songs, while being complex, are not overly so. They leave room for something memorable and allow for some repetition within a song. "Step by Step" is a perfect example as it contains the classic verse/chorus/verse structure with a catchy chorus. Oh, but I guess that is not cool within the confines of prog-metal. Well, who cares what is cool and what is not? I like it! However, the band can show off their talent when they need to. Just check out the searing neo-progressive instrumental "Autograph".
Royal Hunt - Paradox (Imperial/Japan) 1997
1. "The Awakening"
Yet another progressive metal band I heard about while exploring the many metal sites on the net. This one I had read mixed reviews about. AMG's review of "Paradox" states that it is a "masterpiece." Others stated things like "zzzzzzzzzzz...great musicians, great singer, but boring, long-winded arrangements with too much empty space..." So, before obtaining this disc I posted on a metal board asking what others thought of them. Most replies were similar, "Their old stuff is cool especially 'Paradox'! They were killer then but since DC left, they have constantly gone down." OK, so I guess if I am going to check out this band, I had better check out 'Paradox' first. Well, after several listens I have mixed emotions and can see why someone would call this a masterpiece, while someone else would say it was boring. While I think Paradox is a well written, and well executed, progressive metal album, it certainly doesn't leave any lasting impression on me either. Perhaps after more listens as it becomes more familiar I will like it better. Upon the first few listens I can say that the vocals are strong, and several of the songs like "Message to God" and "Long Way Home" are dynamic and have the potential to become favorites as time goes on. This particular copy is a Japanese import, complete with obi, that is in a miniature album cover complete with inner sleeve, an extra booklet and plastic cover. Cool collector's disc.
Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live (Frontiers) 2011
Retin-A is as many a time as with not used to