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Royal Hunt - Paradox II: Collision Course (CD)

Royal Hunt
Paradox II: Collision Course
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 15 April 2008, 2:00 PM

I will be straight forward here; I am a big fan of ROYAL HUNT exclusively during their DC Cooper era. Of course, I have checked the John West albums like Fear, Eyewitness and the recent Paper Blood but I found them too Progressive for my ears. The compositions were over-complicated and kind of had lost the pompous ROYAL HUNT atmosphere that was vivid in their first albums. After the release of the live recorded DVD and CD simply entitled Live in 2005 the band took separate ways with John West and recruited Mark Boals who is known from his work with Yngwie Malmsteen's RISING FORCE and later with his band RING OF FIRE.
Andre Andersen decided to take the risk of creating the second chapter to the concept story told in the Paradox album that saw the light of the day in 1997 and is considered by many as their best album. Personally, I am not into the idea of making a sequel to a successful album that was released several years because: a. it's difficult to capture the same feeling and atmosphere of those years and b. the new album will definitely be compared to the first one and usually received a hard criticism; think of the third Keeper Of The Seven Keys, the second Land Of The Free and you will understand my thinking ground.
I don't want to be mean to John West (who is an excellent singer but did not fit here) but I was very curious to see/listen the new ROYAL HUNT with Mark behind the microphone.
The opening track The First Rock is kind of an intro that will definitely warm your ears and definitely excite your curiosity with the trademark keyboard sounds and Andre's tempting guitar solos. Since, it's a concept album, there no pauses between the tracks that flow really smoothly. The First Rock put a smile on my face because here I found all the ROYAL HUNT that made me a fan of their music; excellent keyboards melodies, cutting edge guitar solos and at last fitting vocals that can be both harsh and melodic without loosing in power. Yes, Mark Boals has brought the things that were missing in the previous albums (sorry John) and seems that fitted like a glove to Andre's musicianship. The songs are loaded with classic music influences with violins, cellos, woodwinds embed in the colorful arrangements as heard in the most melodic Exit Wound (I love the artificial guitar harmonics here) where Mark give his accreditation in the higher pitches. It seems the inspiration draw by Paradox rejuvenated the band's creativity and gave birth to the best album, released during the non-DC Cooper era. My album favorite is Tears Of The Sun (listen to this track by watching the album trailer below) that comprises a main melody that simply hooks in your mind from the first moment, some female vocals and last but not least excellent guitar work that is joyfully influenced by Andre's classic music background.
So, the band took some risks to create a sequel to a most successful album and actually did beat all the odds. With a loud and clear sound production the band from Denmark created an album that meets the standards created with their prime works. Welcome back ROYAL HUNT!

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Principles Of Paradox
The First Rock
Exit Wound
Divide And Reign
High Noon At The Battlefield
The Clan
Blood In Blood Out
Tears Of The Sun
Hostile Breed
Chaos A.C.
Lineup:
Andre Andersen - Keyboards
Mark Boals - Vocals
Per Schelander - Bass
Marcus Jidell - Guitars
Allan Sorensen - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers
     


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