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Royal Hunt – 2016

A great introduction to their quarter-century career…

Released on 12 May 2017 by Frontier Records and reviewed by Angie K

Royal Hunt, a multinational band based in Denmark with significant presence in the world of melodic/symphonic/progressive metal, are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a live album simply called 2016. It captures their excellent performance on stage in Moscow last year as part of their world tour, and has also been released on DVD/Blu Ray, in line with the band’s track record of successful DVD productions (1996 and 2006).

To those who have had the pleasure of seeing the band live, this revives memories of an unforgettable, once in a lifetime kind of high energy experience, while for those unfamiliar with Royal Hunt, it demonstrates high quality and professional standards delivered by them on stage each and every time. They never slip up – which is not why their fans go to their gigs every time the band is on tour.

Why Royal Hunt are adored by their audience is also the fact that they are awfully charming and approachable guys, always meeting their fans after the show, making sure that everyone gets an autograph and a photo and no one leaves disappointed. They connect with their followers on social media and keep it real, still maintaining their high standards and delivering high quality melodic metal.

The live experience captured on the CD/DVD/Blu Ray is a synchronisation of the perfect contact between the band, its members and the audience. Although Royal Hunt are not particularly famous for great personality gelling, they never fail to deliver a perfect performance. The chemistry between the band members on stage is excellent; as musicians they are in top form and the audio package is stunning. Choosing the Moscow venue for the DVD is also a clever idea, as it is the Russian concert halls where their stage productions are usually immaculate in terms of audio quality, visual effects as well as audience capacity and turn up.

Frontman DC Cooper is, as always, in his element, with his impressive vocal range and charismatic onstage behaviour. He is the band member majorly responsible for connecting with the audience, cracking in jokes and involving the enthusiastic crowd in the action.

The album follows a succession of Best Of/compilation projects which the band tends to release every so often to keep their fans warm: 2016’s Cargo (rendition of Royal Hunt’s classical Paradox album, originally released 1997) and their 20th Anniversary (Special Edition) CD. This release comes at a time when the band is having a break from producing new material. Last year they hit the road and took part in three major progressive festivals (ProgPower USA, Loud Park Japan and Rockingham UK), after having said goodbye to their drummer of many years Alan Sorensen who followed his own career path and joined Mike Andersson’s side projects.

2016 extrapolates some of Royal Hunt’s stellar pieces compiled in a brilliant set list from their entire career. Taken from their 1992 debut album Land of Broken Hearts are the songs ‘Flight’ and ‘Stranded’ which are still very much enjoyed by the audience. ‘Wasted Time’ and ‘Epilogue’, although dating back to 1993’s Clown In The Mirror, still feature in most of the band’s gigs and sound as fresh as they did back in the day. ‘Message from God’ (from the signature Paradox – Royal Hunt’s best ever conceptual album) is a song that sends shivers down my spine every single time and, like most fans, I always look forward to hearing it live: DC gives it his absolute all. More songs from this classical album are ‘River of Pain’ and ‘Martial Arts’ which, again, are routinely included in the band’s set lists.

From more recent years, the set list features two of the best tracks from the 2013 A Life To Die For album: ‘One Minute Left To Live’ and ‘A Life To Die For’ – highly charged with emotions for the dedicated audience. It wasn’t a random choice for ‘One Minute Left To Live’ to be the opening track to the live shows in the 2014 world tour. Another fan favourite is ‘Half Past Loneliness’ from 2011’s Show Me How To Live, which always sparks up the crowd with its signature melodic tune and romantic lyrics.

Not surprisingly, some emphasis is put on the 2015 Devil’s Dozen album, immediately preceding the tour. Songs from that release are ‘May You Never (Walk Alone)’, ‘So Right So Wrong’ and ‘Heart On A Platter’.

If you haven’t heard of Royal Hunt, this would be a great introduction to their quarter-century career.

Royal Hunt – 201610 out of 10

CD1:

  1. Medley: So Right So Wrong/Martial Arts
  2. River Of Pain
  3. One Minute Left To Live
  4. Army Of Slaves
  5. Lies
  6. Wasted Time
  7. Heart On A Platter
  8. Flight

CD2:

  1. May You Never (Walk Alone)
  2. Until The Day
  3. Half Past Loneliness
  4. Message To God
  5. Stranded
  6. Medley: A Life To Die For/Epilogue

DVD/Blu Ray:

  1. Medley: So Right So Wrong/Martial Arts
  2. River Of Pain
  3. One Minute Left To Live
  4. Army Of Slaves
  5. Lies
  6. Wasted Time
  7. Heart On A Platter
  8. Flight
  9. May You Never (Walk Alone)
  10. Until The Day
  11. Half Past Loneliness
  12. Message To God
  13. Stranded
  14. Medley: A Life To Die For/Epilogue

 

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