Frontiers / Now & Then FRCD 095 & FRCD107
Produced by: Andre Andersen

Released: OUT NOW / Website
GENRE: Progressive Hard Rock

  1. Take Off
  2. The Mission
  3. Exit Gravity
  4. Surrender
  5. Clean Sweep
  6. Judgement Day
  7. Metamorphis
  8. World Wide War
  9. Deadline
  10. Out Of Reach
  11. Fourth Dimension
  12. Days Of No Trust
  13. Total Recall

I have never given Royal Hunt a lot of my time. That is an oversight I have been correcting with their two current releases.
Royal Hunt are a primarily European band (with American singer John West up front), but have a universal sound.
The guys play melodic hard rock songs that are progressive, edgy and certainly have an air of originality to them.
The mix of vocals, rhythm, keyboards and guitar is even and well balanced.
It's a credit to the band that the principle songwriter (keyboardist Andre Andersen) doesn't allow his instrument to dominate the record, rather it provides the support and musical base it should.
On the occasions where it is featured up front, it guides the songs from one phase to the next. His classical interludes are a welcome variation, rather than a distraction - the sign of a strong songwriter and performer.
John West is one of hard rock's great vocalists and really should be a superstar. There's still time. Along with Jorn Lande, he can sing just about anything, but particularly suits this format.
The production is tight and especially well mixed for a record of this complex nature. It's not a one listen record. In fact, it's more like 5+ before it really latches on, but given the chance, the rewards are there.
Of course, for the legions of established fans, this is just preaching to the choir.
From my only fleeting knowledge of their past catalogue, this to me sounds as good as, if not better than any previous albums.
Thanks to The Mission, the band will now definitely be on my radar and more importantly, in my CD player. Oversight corrected!

The Watchers features the tracks: Intervention (Full Version) . Lies (Live) . Flight (Live) . Message To God (Live) . Epilogue (Live) . One By One (New Version) . Clown In The Mirror (New Version) . Day In Day Out (New Version) . Legion Of The Damned & Intervention (Edit)
This is definitely a fan friendly release. The band call this alternative versions album the conclusion to their recent cycle of releases, taking in three albums.
But, the live recordings are intricate and very well recorded and mixed. The inclusion of the full 15 minute version of the track Intervention will also be a huge buzz for fans of intelligent prog rock.
BOTTOM LINE: The more I listen to Royal Hunt, the more I am enjoying them. I am not a huge prog-head, but loved the more commercial parts of Dream Theater's material. These guys fit into that category perfectly and might just end up being played as much. There's no denying the talent, nor the quality of songs. All that you have to do is decide if their style fits your zone of listening.
If not, be adventurous, give them a might just find what I have.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of intelligent hard rock, fans of progressive rock and all John West fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Land Of Broken Hearts . Clown In The Mirror . Moving Target . Paradox . Fear . Intervention . The Mission . The Watchers

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