Album Releases Album Reviews

Royal Hunt – Devil’s Dozen Review

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Released By: Frontiers Music

Released: 21st August 2015

Genre: Progressive/Symphonic Metal

Links: http://royalhunt.com

 

Line Up:

DC Cooper – Vocals

Andre Andersen – Keyboards

Andreas Passmark – Bass

Jonas Larsen – Guitars

Andreas Habo Johansson – Drums

 

Track List:

01. So Right, So Wrong

02. May You Never (Walk Alone)

03. Heart On A Platter

04. A Tear In The Rain

05. Until The Day

06. Riches To Rags

07. Way Too Late

08. How Do You Know (Bonus Track)

 

A country famed for its butter cookies and mass consumption of pork, Denmark has never been renowned for churning out commercially successful rock/metal bands. As far as that genre goes, former tennis protégé and Metallica bucket banger, Lars Ulrich, remains their most famous export.  But back in the 90’s, a progressive minded bunch of Danes called Royal Hunt; a band founded by ivory tickler Andre Andersen, achieved a generous amount of success with the Moving Target and Paradox albums.  After a conveyor belt of changes in personal, notably in the vocal department, a welcome stability has returned to the band with singer DC Cooper flexing his tonsils on new album Devil’s Dozen, their thirteenth and his third since his return in 2011.

As anyone remotely familiar with the band will know their music is heavy on dramatics and bulging with symphonic mayhem.  Opening tracks So Right, So Wrong and May You Never (Walk Alone) far from disappoint in that department.  All the groups classic elements are there, majestic choruses twined with rambunctious power.  Although Andersen’s larger than life keyboards dominate most of the songs, Jonas Larsen’s killer guitar solo on Heart On A Platter more than holds it’s own.  Deceptively starting with a blues/jazzy vibe, it all predictably erupts with big handsome vocals and melodic exuberance.  There can be no doubting that the re-recruitment of vocalist DC Cooper has been nothing short of a masterstroke.  No disrespect to former front men, Mark Boals and John West, both fine singers in their own right, but when Andersen is writing and slickly producing brilliant over the top epics like A Tear In The Rain and roof raising ballad in the form of Until The Day, Cooper is the only man you want in your corner.
As a full blooded head banging Irishman, the Celtic rock bombardment of Riches To Rags struck a tribal chord with me.  Straight away the warrior drum beats accompanied by the gypsy flute vibe, build a curious anticipation until an injection of Royal Hunt’s unbolting power ignites a thunderous gem.  You could argue that the major symphonic use in their music could be masking major deficiencies in their song writing.  And while closing tracks Way Too Late and How Do You Know are distinctively low fat compared to their predecessors, their restrained delivery are actually refreshing.

There are no surprises on this album, you know what you’re going to get from the start, Royal Hunt were never going to release a metal/country & western crossover album.  And let’s face it, when you buy one of their albums you want every bell and whistle on offer, you want a cacophony of dramatic sound, and Royal Hunt are masters at doing just that.

Written by: Brian Boyle

Rating: Brian 9/10

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