Released by: NorthPoint Productions
Release date: February 21, 2018
D.C. Cooper (v)
Jonas Larsen (g)
André Andersen (k)
Andreas “Habo” Johansson (d)
1. Fistful Of Misery
2. The Last Soul Alive
4. The Wishing Well
5. Cast In Stone
6. A Million Ways To Die
7. Rest In Peace
8. Save Me II
I have to preface before I delve into the new work by Denmark progressive metal masters Royal Hunt, that I was not intending on reviewing the record at all. Why? Well it may seem petty but the band own’s label had sent out a digital promo before the official release was out a couple months ago. I listened to it through the bands website, all is good. I was just a little perplexed as to why there was voice overs in the promo. I get it you are trying to protect the music and the band has every right to do that, just mystified as to why add this now, it was more of a nuisance then anything when you have a song cut off a few times throughout with a voice over from one of the bands members. I get the piracy deal, it’s been a killer in the industry a long time and we know band’s struggle to break even every time a new record is put out, but at the same time the people who review the music and put the “good word” or bad depending on who you ask, out there about bands deserve a little better perhaps? But I digress. Just my two cents.
I’m reviewing the album not just because I got a physical copy of the CD and thanks to the band for sending one, no that doesn’t entitle anybody getting a review from this publication, but basely solely on the band’s reputation of high quality material and vastly underrated career. I thought it deserved publicity and so I will try my best to put into words what I feel about the now 14th studio album by a truly undervalued band.
Royal Hunt, the outfit that was started by founder and mastermind André Andersen is back again after a couple years from the very well received “A Devil’s Dozen” and set of tours that had the band traverse the world in support of the new material.
If you are a fan of this band from their previous works and me personally big fan of the DC Cooper era, “Paradox” album especially, you will agree that not only is that sound a typical Royal Hunt sound, the change of rhythms, from epic symphonies to perfect melodies is what these guys do best. And I mean no disrespect to the past singers, John West, Mark Boals or Henrik Brockman, but DC is the man for this band, has always been as far as I’m concerned. His voice is just uncanny and his range is still splendid even after all these years.
I feel that after DC came back into the band, that fire was reignited and after “Show Me How To Live” they hit their stride consistently. This new piece of work titled “Cast In Stone”, signifies the state of the band and their history when it comes to their sound. From the opening tune “Fistful of Misery”, the arrangements are all there that make RH a very a distinctive band with a divergent style.
The song “Sacrifice” is interesting in terms of style, high space and shift changes dominate it, but you still hear the typical keys spread in there (Andersen), and the guitar work by Jonas Larsen and rhythm mastery by Andreas Passmark are solid. “A Million Ways To Die” is one tune that could easily be put into “Paradox”, what a chorus here, something the band has always been known for, packing heat, fire and melodic punch with super boastful choruses. Perhaps one of the strongest songs on the album comes via “Rest In Peace”, again super melodic chorus, and very keen guitars and solos take this song to the top, a nice addition to the back end of the record and just explodes at you.
I can write about every song here, but while only 8 of them, you already know what you will get with Hunt, solid compositions, very high pace rhythms and intricate deliveries which is great because it keeps you interested and never seems like you are falling of a cliff waiting for some anticlimactic solo and it never gets boring, we are talking about progressive intricacies after all.
I have to say a couple things directed at DC Cooper; while we love your stuff in Royal Hunt, I challenge you to put out your own solo record, or join another project band just to get more music out there, your awesome voice can take any project into higher levels. I really dig Royal Hunt and I love for them to keep their sound running along as it’s viable and with the bands past few records I see no way of slowing down and as long as the fan base rewards their hard work, would be cool to see other side projects from these same band members as they all have great chemistry and are long and seasoned musicians.
If you have never heard of Royal Hunt, I challenge you start and not be cast in stone, pick this one up and check out their back catalog as they have tons of strong and quality music there and these guys know how to make melodic, bombastic and graceful music, they have been doing it a long time folks.
Written by: Shadow Editor