November 25, 2011

Review: Royal Hunt-Show Me How To Live

Let the hunt begin! Cue horse sounds, bring in the timpani and medieval battle music, add some swords clanging, fade in the operatic voices then cresendo to a boil.

Sounds like the makings of some great cinema and it is inside my head where I am picturing knights going out to battle their enemies and DC Cooper is back to lead that charge. 

Show Me How To Live is a return to the classic Royal Hunt sound. It’s teeming with big, slick melodic arrangements, layers of glossy keyboards and jaw dropping guitar licks. A lot of care has been taken to make everything sound larger than life. Royal Hunt (est. 1989) are Andre Andersen (Keyboard), DC Cooper (Vocals), Allan Sorensen (Drums), Andreas Passmark (Bass) and Jonas Larsen (Guitar).

"Another Man Down” starts slow with some mythical sounding piano and builds into a powerful, impassioned rock anthem. The Bass at the beginning of this song really creates the mood. The chorus sounds majestic with its harmonized vocals dripping with luring textures. I love the wah driven guitar solo in the middle of the song. It ends with DC singing “I open my eyes and I envy another man down” as everything fades out.

“An Empty Shell” is anything but empty with its driving keyboards and rhythm section. There is an amazing lightning fast keyboard solo towards the end that reminds me of something off of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, followed by an equally scorching guitar solo.

“Hard Rain’s Coming” is a pleasant surprise with its harpsichord intro shadowed by overdriven guitar power chords. There is some amazing bass work in the interlude and the guitar lines just seem to float like a feather over the top of it.

“Half Past Loneliness” starts with a hypnotizing bass line and that amazing snare sound peppers this whole album like ‘it’ was the spice of life.

The rest the album finishes strong with another anthem, “Show Me How To Live” and wraps it up with “Angel’s Gone” with its classical pizzicato strings, timpani and organ sounds leading into a great guitar solo and more colossal vocals. This song builds to monumental heights adding guitar solos on top of keyboard solos on top of drums solos with the bass holding everything together like glue. A few orchestra hits, some really cool drums and, “sigh”, the battle is won!

Show Me How To Live
has made the wait for a new Royal Hunt album worth it. Certainly this strong release will close out the year with tremendous momentum that will carry them into 2012 and beyond.

4/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Another Man Down, Show Me How To Live, Hard Rains Coming

Kirk Bullough

November 23, 2011

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