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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Royal Hunt

Moving Target

Review by Gary Hill

Much of this album represents a nearly perfect synthesis of classical music and heavy metal. In many places, the two styles are so intertwined as to be inseparable. This fusion of styles makes for an incredibly powerful work.

The lineup on this album is Steen Mogensen, Kenneth Olsen, Jacob Kiaer, D. C. Cooper and Andre Andersen.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Last Goodbye
A classical tone starts the piece, then guitar that is rather in the mode of Deep Purple joins in to produce a dramatic tension. As the composition moves on, these classical and metal leanings blend wonderfully in a display of the creative levels metal can rise to in the right hands. This song is very strong and really combines those two elements inseparably throughout the piece. The cut ends with a recitation of the Lord`s Prayer.
1348
A very progish intro with Rycheian overtones starts this number. The song proper is essentially an emotion packed metallic ballad (some sections are quite hard-edged) that, again, relies heavily on classical elements.
Makin' A Mess
The classical intensity is certainly present in this tune. The intro actually sounds as if it should come from an old black and white movie. The piece is another perfect marriage of the classical and heavy metal genres. Deep Purple (particularly the Perfect Strangers era) again comes to mind a bit.
Far Away
The intro here combines powerful accapella vocal sections with metallic bursts of energy. The first verse is vocals laying atop classically tinged organ work. Later sections of the song focus on the metallic edge, but other classical elements still present themselves. An instrumental break, in particular, shows strong classical techniques.
Step By Step
Based on a definite metal texture, the main riff to Step By Step is quite catchy, as is the chorus. In fact, this cut is very accessible. After a false ending, sound effects with piano reminiscent of silent movie music ends the piece.
Autograph
The classical leanings are back in force on this powerful number, and the piano really dominates the early portions of this instrumental. The arrangement here is nothing short of brilliant.
Stay Down
Although this composition is straightforward metal, it is very creative within that genre, and contains definite symphonic leanings.
Give It Up
Very interesting textures are present on the early sections of this track, creating a wonderful mood. While the classical elements do not dominate here, they are none-the-less present.
Time
Pretty acoustic guitar, joined by vocals, begins this song, placing the first verse in the ballad mode. The cut literally jumps into progmetal ground as both the strong metal textures and classically influenced arranging abruptly take over to make up the rest of the piece.
Far Away (Acoustic)
Using just vocals and acoustic guitar, a beautiful balladic rendition of the song gives a completely new texture to the track. This is a bonus track on the disc.
Restless
The introduction to this number is quite atmospheric, and there are Rycheish moments. The song is definitely original Royal Hunt, though and is quite catchy. This tune is another bonus track.
 
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