Album Reviews

Royal Hunt – A Life To Die For Review

royalhunt_ a life_cover

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: December 3rd, 2013

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: http://www.royalhunt.com/

 

Line Up:

André Andersen – keyboards

DC Cooper – vocals

Allan Sørensen – drums

Andreas Passmark – bass

Jonas Larsen – guitars

 

Tracklist:

01. Hell Comes Down From Heaven

02. A Bullet’s Tale

03. Running Out Of Tears

04. One Minute Left To Live

05. Sign Of Yesterday

06. Won’t Trust, Won’t Fear, Won’t Beg

07. A Life To Die For

 

Royal Hunt has been a favorite of mine for a long time now. There is something about their music that pretty much draws me in almost instantly. Despite my love for them I was always more into the albums from the D.C. Cooper period. Joining the band in 1994 he propelled the band to its greatest period of success. As is the story so often, Cooper left the band leaving them flagging somewhat. Mark Boals and John West did a great job of continuing the bands run, but when D.C. returned to front the band again in 2011 the true sense of what Royal Hunt was about returned as well. Show Me How To Live was their musical comeback and what a release it was. Fast forward a couple years later and Hunt are back with their sophomore reunion release A Life To Die For.

Wavering somewhere between progressive metal and power metal with huge doses of melody the first thing I noticed on A Life To Die For there’s more of that classical/symphonic concept going throughout the album than has been used in the past. Still present are the blistering guitar work, bombastic keyboards, and of course the powerful voice of Cooper, but the symphonic highlights add a whole new dimension to their sound. I can see where the appeal for this sound would be, however purists and old school fans may feel like it is a bit overkill. I’m caught somewhere in the middle. Songs like “Running Out of Tears,” “A Life To Die For,” and “A Bullet’s Tale” utilize the orchestral stuff to its advantage, other times it just makes the songs too busy. In and of itself that isn’t a major issue, however listening to the album can be a little overwhelming. Music shouldn’t make you feel that way, unless it’s emotionally.

A Life To Die For is a great album, but not as great as I had hoped it to be. Royal Hunt sound more like Kamelot, which is the furthest thing from an insult as Kamelot is a tremendously talented band. However, if I want to hear Kamelot I’d rather it not be on a Royal Hunt record. Having said that, I’m glad they’re still making music and taking some chances and trying different things. Sometimes experimentation works and sometimes it fails horribly. Luckily for Royal Hunt they made a great album, just not a standout compared to some of their previous releases. I definitely would recommend fans of the band to give it a shot. Perhaps later when I revisit it (because as a fan I will definitely check it out several more times) it will connect with me, but my initial spins leave me preferring to listen to Show Me How To Live instead.

 

Written by Chris Martin

Ratings    Chris    7/10

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