Royal Hunt - Dystopia review


33 users:
Band: Royal Hunt
Album: Dystopia
Release date: December 2020

01. Inception ℉451
02. Burn
03. The Art Of Dying
04. I Used To Walk Alone
05. The Eye Of Oblivion
06. Hound Of The Damned
07. The Missing Page (Intermission I)
08. Black Butterflies
09. Snake Eyes
10. Midway (Intermission II)

Symphonic power metal or power rock, or more accurately in the case of Royal Hunt, power whatever with a great symphonic keyboard player. Yes, this is the same band from Denmark who started out in 1989. Dystopia is album number 15 if anybody is keeping track. The brainchild of André Andersen has spawned many lineups but has always featured talented singers. Long-time band member and unusable rocker D.C. Cooper is once again gracing us with his all-encompassing voice. As a matter of fact, the rest of the lineup has been unchanged since 2015.

If this were a movie, or a play, you could say that Andersen has laid the brickwork for the rest of the cast to shine. Truth be told, he has always been the great orchestrator. Listening to Dystopia is like a cinematic experience, which works fantastically since this is a concept album. Picture one of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, that is what Dystopia reminds me of. And I mean that in a good way. The orchestration is omnipresent. The vocal section is boosted by many guests. Starting with former band members Henrik Brockmann and Mark Boals, but also vocal session master Mats Leven, and that is on top of the usual backing vocals of Kenny Lubcke and Alexandra Popova Andersen. The latter also shines as the lead singer on "I Used to Walk Alone", the mandatory rock ballad. The end result is that the vocals - and therefore the characters - are dripping with charisma.

The usual classic rock influences can be heard throughout; some Deep Purple here, some Alan Parsons Project there. The album flows nicely from beginning to end and supports the narrative successfully. The instrumental interludes add fluidity rather than break continuity. It is all working as designed. While Cast in Stone was more of a throwback rock album evoking the likes of Rainbow, Dystopia has more depth, more layers, and that is all achieved without sacrificing the gritty rock sound.

Dystopia fits neatly into the sweet spot halfway between classic rock and heavy metal. The musical ebb and flow emphasizes the song diversity and drives the story-line forward. Augmented with symphonic elements and a wide cast of talented singers, the album is a well-rounded musical, and also a perfect example of what Royal Hunt can do better that any other band out there.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 24.12.2020 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 75 users
24.12.2020 - 21:48
I'm definitely going to get into this album. Thanks for writing the review and getting me excited for an another album by this fantastic band.
25.12.2020 - 13:11
Very few melodic metal albums in my 2020 collection, however this gets 9-9.5 from me.

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