ROYAL HUNT – Dystopia (2020)

ROYAL HUNT - Dystopia (2020) full

Always commanded by superb keyboard wizard / composer Andre Andersen and with stupendous D.C. Cooper on lead vocals, Denmark’s ROYAL HUNT will release their new studio album, ”Dystopia”, on December 18th via NorthPoint Productions.
A concept album offering a considerable expansion of the band’s trademark sound and featuring performances by impressive guest vocalists: Mats Leven (Treat, Yngwie), Mark Boals (ex-Royal Hunt, Ring Of Fire, Yngwie), Henrik Brockmann (ex-Royal Hunt, ex-Evil Masquerade), Kenny Lubcke (Narita) and Alexandra Andersen (Royal Hunt).

The intro song sets up the atmospheric premise of the album which is a depiction of the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. As we are welcomed into the album by the siren of an ambulance and an orchestral build-up, we know it is time for the mass burning of books to keep the knowledge away from the public.
The next song has big symphonic metal energy as the trumpets lead the melody of the chorus. I want to point out that this melody is also a reprise to the song “A Million Ways to Die” from Royal Hunt’s 2018 album Cast in Stone. I’m not sure if the concepts of the albums are connected, but the melodic recurrence was a nice touch to reference the fact that the world is in grave danger.

After an intro as strong as this, the rest of the album remains about just as good. It is clear that Royal Hunt has a very strong songwriting intuition as the album is filled with encapsulating vocal hooks. For instance, “Black Butterflies” may be the strongest song on the CD for how catchy and intense the main chorus hits, backed by the progressively rhythmic drumming and the enveloping symphony.
“Black Butterflies” is also where the longtime vocalist D. C. Cooper gets to show off his abilities most. How the chorus is repeated many times in different ways, from softly-spoken lyrics, to baritone, to a big falsetto climax.

This thing is damn solid. It is not easy to be able to sound unique in a pool of similar prog / symphonic metal bands, but Royal Hunt seems to have done so. The instrumentals are all really technical and spot on. The choruses and melodies are incredibly memorable. And the symphonic element that this album has makes it more epic and high brow.
This would be the perfect listen for someone who is into progressive metal or is a fan of catchy melodic metal with a symphonic flair.
Terrific stuff


01. Inception F451
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)

Andre Andersen – Keyboards
D.C. Cooper – Vocals
Andreas Passmark – Bass
Jonas Larsen – Guitars
Andreas “Habo” Johansson – Drums

Alexandra Andersen – Vocals
Henrik Brockmann – Vocals
Mark Boals – Vocals
Mats Leven – Vocals
Kenny Lubcke – Vocals


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