Released: 2005, Frontiers Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Andre Andersen, bandleader and mastermind behind Royal Hunt, is back with the band’s seventh album, PAPER BLOOD. There have been some changes made in the line up and the only remaining member is John West. The new recruits are Marcus Jidell (Jekyll and Hyde, The Ring etc) and behind the drums we find Kenneth Olsen is back with the band again. Royal Hunt have sold about 1 million albums world-wide and that must make them one of the biggest acts from Denmark.
I’ve seen Royal Hunt when they were support to another Danish act Pretty Maides and I’ve also heard a few albums with them but I’ve never been impressed by Andre and the guys. I think I have changed my mind now when it comes to this album.
Andre must be one of the best keyboard players in the world and he is now in the same league as the Swedish demon keyboard player Richard Andersson. When it comes to John on lead vocals I really do think that he has a broad and a full vocal range that takes the music and material a step further. Marcus on guitar contributes with a nice and varied guitar play all the way through the album. He manages to play both melodic and yet hard.
All of the guys are excellent musicians and they all have done a great job playing brilliant music. When it comes to the kind of music Royal Hunt plays, I think that they play heavy keyboard based hardrock/metal influenced by both neo-classical and progressive metal. They sound a bit like Richard Andersson’s Space Odyssey or Time Requiem if anyone is familiar with those bands.
PAPER BLOOD is a theme album, about what I don’t know because I only have a promo copy without any lyrics as usual. However does this album contain 10 tracks and it took the band one year locked up in the studio in order to get the album ready for release.
The material feels pretty even all the way throughout the album, but one thing is really annoying when it comes to Royal Hunt and that is the constant orgy of keyboard play. Andre takes over the sound and the other guys should be lucky if they even have the slightest chance of taking any place. Sure, he is a world class keyboard player but it can be a bit boring to hear his constant play all the time. He’s just like Yngwie Malmsteen but on keyboard.
Andre has produced the album and have of course put himself in the focus and below lies lead vocals and guitar, otherwise has he done an OK production.
I think that this album appeals mostly to the already blessed Royal Hunt fans but if you want to listen to a killer keyboard player then Andre is your man.
I think that they have managed to an OK album but in my ears it doesn’t reach all the way through to my liking.
But for once the label’s put in some cash into the cover artwork that looks really nice, I don’t know if it capture the essence of the album but it looks good anyway.
Killer tracks “Break Your Chains”, “Not My Kind” and “Paper Blood”