posted on 4/2002 By:
When I hear the term "Power Metal", several things come to mind…….keyboards and high, clean vocals. When I first popped in this album, my assumptions proved correct. Being a fan of the more brutal end of the metal spectrum, I have given this a "fair trial" by giving it more than a few spins in the cd player. One thing that I can tell you is that the production is absolutely impeccable. Keyboardist and producer Andre Andersen has clearly succeeded in creating a crisp, yet roomy sound, and the live tracks have been mixed very well, capturing & balancing every instrument perfectly. However, I do question how eagerly fans of this band will want to run out and purchase this, mainly because there seems to be no new material on here. "Live Version", "New Version", and "Radio Edit" are pasted all over the track listing. Why bands continue to release "albums" w/ "radio edits" on them is truly beyond my comprehension. I do not currently know, nor have I ever known anyone who buys an album or single because of the radio edit version of a song. Firstly, an edited song for radio is just what it says….edited. Parts have been cut out. I personally want to hear the song in its entirety. It comes down to the fact that it is filler on an otherwise lacking release, plain & simple. Secondly, anything that gets radio airplay shows that it is "tame" enough for a radio station to air, and can possibly draw more listeners, so they can continue to make more money off of relentless and annoying advertisers. Basically what I'm saying is that I abandoned radio years ago, and anything that is played on radio I have a tendency not to like, mainly because it is going to be "easy" enough for listeners to get hooked on and request, and my tastes have evolved enough to realize that simple songs can be catchy, but can also fade out quickly and lose any value it may have because of it's simple and thin structure. Such is the case here w/ "The Watchers" from Royal Hunt. I won't deny cringing when I heard the vocals, and at some points covering my ears. Royal Hunt brings back a lot of the '80's ballad vibes. Very spaced out timing, very simple, very sappy, and very predictable. To categorize this as "Power Metal" doesn't really seem to fit. I personally find nothing in this that embodies power at all. Lyrically, there's nothing here that can keep me from falling into a deep slumber. It would be different if Royal Hunt came across w/ a strong statement in some, or any of the songs, but they don't. The half-assed attempt at "blasphemy" in "Message to God" did give me quite a chuckle, telling him to "get a life". The songs "Clown in the Mirror" and "Legion of the Damned" are probably the ones w/ the most substance on here. But as a metal fan, I fail to find a great deal of guitar utilization going on in this release. Keyboards do most of the "atmosphere" establishing, and it just comes across as rather weak for a metal album. If you're a die-hard fan of the '80's era sappy power ballads, then you very well may find some short-lived interest in this. Hell, even the way the lyrics are written remind me of my pubescent zit-popping days when I would fall asleep fantasizing about the big-haired, big-breasted, high-heeled blonde I saw dancing around in the Motley Crue video. As much as I'd like that time of my life to return again, I'm going to have to pass on Royal Hunt. There is something oddly inspiring about this disc, however. I just can't put my finger on it. Oh well. I think I'll go make a grilled-cheese sandwich, have some nachos 'n cheese, a carton of cottage cheese, then apply an entire can of cheez whiz to the remainder of my cheesy Ritz crackers…
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