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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live review

Year : 2011
Genre : Progressive Metal Hard Rock
Label : Frontiers Records
Origin : Denmark
Rating : 9.2 / 10

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Denmark's Royal Hunt delivers its eleventh studio album to date. This band has been around since the late '90s, experiencing great success in Japan and Europe, primarily. The album marks the return of American lead vocalist D. C. Cooper who has been absent from the lineup for 13 years, while the band also claims that this particular release represents a conscious return to the "classic Royal Hunt sound".

The record starts out with an atmospheric fantasy battlefield ambient section drowning into a programmed pinball machine orchestra, and, when the actual music starts, the primer agenda emerges in great haste to outline its ambitious silhouettes. Luckily, as the rigorously tamed guitars join into the fray, the monumental pinball synths immediately gain a much more stable and relevant function of absorbing a healthy amount of the bare grit of the guitars, claiming the right to go with their new found partner to wherever they want to. The spin utilizes these hugely bloated synths with great keenness and inventive tendencies, and their beaten-but-not-defeated timber gives and gains all kinds of justices to-, and from the guitars that the band consciously collides them with. Their volumetric presence is so prominent in the mix that they emerge as equals to the guitars and claim focal role amidst the heft-related tools the record has at its disposal.

The resultant-, global character of the sound incorporates a special kind of Bertold Brechtian cartoon-gloom and a funny sense of self-parodistic hopelessness that did not yet decide to end its own suffering or laugh out loud at it instead, combined with a toy-classicism that seeks to emerge as utterly determined through the synthetizers, and I feel it is great fun even when it manages to do that, as well as when it is becoming an intentional parody of itself, because this always happens in a hilarious fashion. Thank God and Co., the record takes itself mad serious and looks more and more good while doing that, so, as the spin progresses, its relentlessness at INSISTING becomes especially likable. Read on to find out more about this sexy release.

As it quickly becomes evident, Royal Hunt has a superb sense for delivering legit, full musculature choruses. The way they sing "One! More! Daaaaaaaay!" in the opening track on top of a gently varied power chord, simply rules you and me and that guy and that, too, and invites the oh!, so delicious Abba metal to mind. As the LP progresses, it turns out that what you are getting is similar in its instinctive nature to an Yngwie Malmsteen album, but this similarity mainly boils down to a mutual tendency of relying on elegant, at heart simplistic classical compositional techniques. The solo releases of original neoclassical hypershredder Yngwie Malmsteen seek to bulldozer you proper into the wall like a Taurus demon who does not love you, while this particular release is not afraid to attempt to entertain with a tamer-, but similarly bombastic and unusual sound in nature. This special sonic alloy is the result of a combination of super-prominent, fluid synth-anatomy and the aggressive guitar work. If you give the ear thoroughly, you can hear how the guitars and the synths are playing different riffs that are flirting with each other, while both instruments are enjoying full administrative rights in the mere character of the sonic rhythm section.

After a tight opening track with a brilliant chorus, I personally feel that the second installment, "Another Man Down", while acceptable, does not pack the same high octane efficiency its direct predecessor spills on you. Consecutive track, "An Empty Shell" starts out as a rabid cinematic score that had enough of its own character and related limits and decided to go me(n)tal. A thrilling, relevant musical experience. A lush, wide, strong instrumental background compliments a verse structure that comes to you right from a particularly disturbing Tim Burton movie, then a strong pre-section of discomforting anticipation and unfolding drama reveals lurking hell that decides to break lose instead and simply does not capitulate until its flames managed to lick off all threads of hairs from your body. The track has a notable tendency to throw in truly impressive instrumental interludes with avid solo riposts traded between synth and solo guitar, and the fact that the performers do not venture into wankfest territory, appeals to the overall experience in extremely convincing fashion. Another superb track.

"Hard Rain's Coming" starts out with an Abba intro, and continues to thread along that superb direction. I especially like D. C. Cooper's content "ha! haaa!" at 0:41, with which he acknowledges the epic belt he just started off the fabric of the song with. This one is a mid-tempo metal ballad with a tremendous rumble and a flamboyant flow, and the chorus finds a way to go Abba instead going for the communist marching song mood, producing another home run. A decent guitar solo also is thrown into the fray to ride on top of phrygian chord structures - yes, I'm a fucking snob - that will make you sit on the edge of your seat if you are not banging your head(s) yet. (Have to be PC with the mutants, too.)

"Half Past Loneliness" is a definite highlight for me, this is what I call a kickass chorus, bitches! The chorus has the 101% Abba going on with a pop metal vibe that reeks irresistible sex appeal all the way through, especially with the backing vocals. My mom heard the song and immediately wanted it on her mp3 player, and expressed on-spot fandomism towards the creators. Pure late '70s brilliant vintage power-pop mounted on a relentless metal wartank, and I like it tremendously, and I think you need to check it out, too. The other part I consider pretty strong on the delivery, is the instrumental section of titular delivery "Show Me How To Live", as the Bertold Brechtian cartoon gloom and the Abba-like pop-determination masterfully clicks together herein.

This release is ripe and sexy all the way through, and has no weaknesses worth pointing a finger on. Strong for the most part, brilliant at certain spots, obtaining this Royal Hunt - Show Me How To Live LP should be your top priority if you want deeply melodic metal that has dignity, charming hooks, a decent amount of brilliant choruses and overall musical exigency.

Rating : 9.2 / 10

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  1. Great that DC is back to Royal Hunt, even though I love Mark Boals vocals. This album does contain the reminiscence of the 1995 album Moving Target which is good news for RH fans. Good songs, catchy hooks and the instruments are complementing each other. I like the fact that they didn't venture into any technical wankfest for no good reason or overplay any of the songs. I find this album kinda short though.

    Some might not like the pop-ish sounding, to me I like the vibe and find myself singing the chorus happily together. The integration of female voice and backing vocals works well in this album, splendidly done. Honestly how can you repel ABBA metal! You should check out At Vance's cover of ABBA's - The Winner Takes It All,Money Money Money,SOS and Yngwie Malmsteen's covers on Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!(Mark Boals on vocals).

    DC sounds good and delivering some nice touches here and there, enjoyed his singing. IMO his previous work with Silent Force's Walk The Earth album is much more better. Great review again.

  2. Hola CaptainHonest,

    these are starting to be nice blitzkrieg-reviews, your comments. :]

    I'm utterly close to asking if you'd feel like writing a full review on something you'd want to.


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