Royal Hunt - Moving Target

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MA 9027-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:03:00

I wasn't immediately taken with Royal Hunt's previous release Paradox, but I find myself tempted to give it another try, having listened to this new disc, Moving Target. While Royal Hunt's sound is like Queensryche and Dream Theater, to whom I suspect they are compared, there is more than a hint of the arena rock bands of the 80's - most apparent on "Step By Step" and "Give It Up." But unlike label mates Shadow Gallery, there is nothing saccharine here, nothing really to make you cringe. And unlike Dream Theatre of late, there is so much energy here that you're exhausted by the time you get to the end of the disc.

On the opening track "Last Goodbye," the guitars and bass vibrate and pulse like a violinist on speed, DC Cooper's vocals soar, swoop and dive, and the drums pound - and we're off to an exciting start. The track concludes with a sermon - not unsurprising for this band. "1348," the second track in, has a very smooth, rich vocal, with nice contrasts between mellow and bombast. I'm sure the strings are keyboards, but they add a nice touch.

Guitarist Jacob Kjaer, bassist Steen Mogensen, and keyboardist Andre Andersen all so tight and in sync, they seem like one multi-textured instrument. Cooper's vocals, and the vocal harmonies, fit in perfectly there, just another instrument - part of the whole. Too often vocalists in the style give their chords a workout because they can without regard to the overall context.

The song that probably works least for them is "Step By Step" - imagine latest teen darlings with an edge, especially around the perky, harmonic chorus. Despite that, though, there is an interesting and memorable vocal hook in the verses. Unfortunately, I can easily imagine synchronized dancing across an otherwise bare stage - maybe it has something to do with that title. And yet, manages to avoid being too fluffy.

The instrumental "Autograph" is a tour-de-force of speeding guitars, swirling keys, pounding drums, and thumping bass, shifting suddenly to a very pastoral, very soothing keyboard passage, shifting back into high gear just as suddenly. In way, very typical for this style of music, and yet the synchronization here is amazing.

Being somewhat lyrically inclined, I wish the lyrics had been printed here. But, even still, Royal Hunt are deserving of a wider audience - though admittedly, maybe they are getting played on the more metal inclined radio stations.

One of the two bonus tracks on this disc are an acoustic version of "Far Away," which I like a bit more than the metal version, but then perhaps that's because overall, I'm not a big metal/prog metal fan. The drawback to it is that Cooper's vocal really hit those upper registers, and while he hits them, they seem out of place. "Restless" is the other one and is a mid-tempo tune, which I quite like.

I really do recommend this disk, more for those who like harder edged prog rock, but others will find much to appreciate.

Last Goodbye (6:33) / 1348 (4:32) / Makin' A Mess (4:00) / Far Away (4:58) / Step By Step (5:11) / Autograph (3:36) / Stay Down (4:21) / Give It Up (4:01) / Time (4:53) / Far Away (Acoustic) (4:38) / Restless (3:20)

Steen Mogensen - bass
Kenneth Olsen - drums
Jacob Kjaer - guitars
D C Cooper - lead and backing vocals
Andre Andersen - keyboards and guitars
Maria McTurk, Lise Hansen - backing vocals

Land Of The Broken Hearts (1992)
Clown In The Mirror (1993)
The Maxi EP (1993)
Moving Target (1995)
Far Away (ep) (1995)
Live 1996 (1996)
Double Live In Japan (1996)
Paradox (1997)
Closing The Chapter (1998)
Fear (1999)
The Mission (2001)
The Watchers (2002)
Eyewitness (2003)
Paper Blood (2005)
Live 2006 (2006) Paradox II: Collision Course (2008)
X (2010)
Show Me How To Live (2011)
A Life To Die For (2013)
Devil's Dozen (2015)

Live 2006 (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: April 10th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 978
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]