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Royal Hunt - Paper Blood (CD)

Royal Hunt
Paper Blood
by Eleni Mouratoglou at 27 June 2005, 11:24 AM

2005 found Royal Hunt working on their new album, Paper Blood and going through lineup changes. In January Marcus Jidell (Jackyl & Hyde, The Ring) became part of the Royal family and Kenneth Olsen, who had left the band after the recording of the 1996 double live album, rejoined it. Paper Blood, which is Royal Hunt's 8th studio album, finally came out between June 6th and June 22nd all over the world, after months of recording and mixing in the EMI/Medley studio in Copenhagen.
The members have said that this is by far their best album up to now and the heaviest at the same time. To me Royal Hunt are a beloved band. I both like the D.C. Cooper and the John West eras and the albums that marked the transition, Paradox (1997) and Fear (1999) happen to be my favorites. Their style varies from Progressive Power to Melodic and Symphonic Hard Rock combined with monumentally exaggerated instrumentations, overwhelming keyboards and excellent technical vocals. What else could anyone ask for?
In fact, there is something more a fan could ask for or even demand by such important and characteristic band and that would be originality. By the term originality I don't mean changing the elements that made them what they are. I don't mean avoiding borrowing other bands' elements either. The trap Andre Andersen fell into when writing these songs was repeating himself. And no addition of heaviness which is indeed obvious in the guitar parts can soften this impression.
Of course there are the usual a capella vocals, the genial pauses in the refrains and John West's studies on how to make one's throat explode but there are also so many keyboard solos that the music is plainly progressive. Nobody doubts the Danish quartet's mainman's virtuosity but a Royal Hunt fan cannot rest on it; melody is the other, equivalent found of the masterpieces of the past. As melody is inevitably catchy, the consequence is that there are no hits like Message To God or Cold City Lights in Paper Blood.
Don't misunderstand me; the album is really good and sometimes very good, especially when it comes to the choruses which can almost provoke awe. The production is as satisfactory as always and the drums are great. The problem is that I am used to melting a Royal Hunt album in the CD player and I'm afraid this particular CD is not in danger.
Such introversity doesn't match Royal Hunt.
- Album Highlights: Not My Kind (dedicated to all the reluctant to accept any difference fans and to all the really open-minded fans), Seven Days, Kiss Of Faith.

3 Star Rating

Break Your Chains
Not My Kind
Memory Lane
Never Give Up
Seven Days
SK 983
Kiss Of Faith
Paper Blood
Season's Change
Twice Around The World
Andre Andersen - Keyboards
John West - Vocals
Marcus Jidell - Guitars
Kenneth Olsen - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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