Royal Hunt - Devil's Dozen

Royal Hunt - Devil's Dozen

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(CD, Frontiers, 2015)

The “Devil’s Dozen” stands for the fact that this is ROYAL HUNT’s thirteenth album (yeah, the alternative baker’s dozen was surely not an option) and to the delight of many fans out there, it features D.C. Cooper behind the mic. Even though the lineup has featured great singers, D.C. is the one who has connected his name with ROYAL HUNT. For me, this has a lot to do with the album “Moving Target” and the way it introduced the band to me, so I was very happy seeing him getting back in the fold.

Sure, getting the singer that you like back in a band is not a solid guarantee that the music will be as good as it was, but in the case of ROYAL HUNT it seems to be working when thinking of the two LPs before “Devil’s Dozen”. However, this one got me hooked right from the start and I found myself listening quite a few times to the tracklist opener “So Right So Wrong” before caving in and checking the rest of the album. The trademark orchestration and the way this song builds up the anticipation through the percussion leading to the massive guitar rhythm section are some of the elements that make ROYAL HUNT so unique. Then, the amazing vocal lines enter underscoring the band’s super-characteristic song-writing and please, wait until the chorus to turn the initial humming-along into some serious singing-along. By the way, the rhythm section lives and breathes Hard Rock with the steady groove and the fat guitars while D.C. adds the appropriate emotion in every lyric line and tempo change, getting valuable help by the awesome backing vocals. In case you’re graving for something fast, you should buckle up because “May You Never (Walk Alone)” and “A Tear In The Rain” with the double-bass drumming action will give exactly what you need although those too are still carrying the characteristic changes all the ROYAL HUNT fans are so familiar with. Yeah, check how the latter song starts fast then goes melodic with amazing multiple vocal harmonies before stepping on the gas pedal following D.C. high-pitched scream (this give me goosebumps every time).

ROYAL HUNT always had the tendency on approaching or even stepping on Progressive territories and this album is no exception; “Riches To Rags” brings some flute-tunes (maybe are keyboard-produced) and an almost playful groove that goes hand-in-hand with the super-catchy chorus (again those backing vocals do magic). And speaking of catchy choruses, check what the keyboard-driven “How Do You Know” has in store and let me know if you managed to resist lip-singing a bit (also check the guitar solo part). The power-ballad of the album is the awesome “Until The Day” where it is impossible not to praise Mr. Cooper for sending shivers down your spine with the way he changing pitch from low to high like it’s the easiest thing to do.

I’d go as far and brand “Devil’s Dozen” as one of the best albums I’ve listened the most coming from the D.C.-back-in-the-band period. Yeah, everything I love in ROYAL HUNT is here from the pompous orchestrations, the most melodic keyboards and the catchy as super-glue choruses, making this album a strong candidate for my end-of-the-year list.

8/10


Links:

www.RoyalHunt.Com
www.FaceBook.Com/RoyalHunt
www.Twitter.Com/RoyalHuntMusic


Tracklist:

01. So Right So Wrong
02. May You Never (Walk Alone)
03. Heart On A Platter
04. A Tear In The Rain
05. Until The Day
06. Riches To Rags
07. Way Too Late
08. How Do You Know


Lineup:

André Andersen - Keyboards
D.C. Cooper - Vocals
Andreas Passmark - Bass
Jonas Larsen - Guitar