Royal Hunt - Moving Target

Royal Hunt - Moving Target

Royal Hunt - Moving Target

(1995, Majestic Entertainment Inc.)

It’s no big news the early 90s was a difficult period for Heavy Metal: the Grunge typhoon had been taking the world by storm plus more extreme forms of Metal were taking the place of traditional (or even Thrash) music in the ears and souls of the genre’s followers. On the other hand, bands like DREAM THEATER showcased a somewhat new form of Prog music and many people were eager to follow this rendition too. But, not to forget, some bands formed in Scandinavia struggling to create their own identity and place themselves in the Metal map through a completely different perspective. One of them was/is ROYAL HUNT.

The Danish outfit formed in 1989 with a solid aim to mix melodic Heavy Metal with symphonic/operatic and Prog elements. The band’s mainman, keyboardist Andre Andersen, was keen on this flair hence the music he composed in the first two albums – “Land Of Broken Hearts” (1992) and “Clown In The Mirror” (1993) – showcased this clear direction from the very beginning. Something was missing though, even though the musicianship was phenomenal; the vocal lines needed someone who would eventually fit the job like hand in glove. And this person was pointed as the American-born D.C. Cooper stepped in before the recordings of the crucial third album. The result was a milestone in the specific genre called “Moving Target”, released somewhere in 1995.

The album lacks nothing in originality. As pre-said, the best elements in melody, symphonic-ness and progressiveness are listed here in these something more than 45 minutes of creative and vivid music. The vocals of Cooper are warm and passionate but also theatrical and artistic to the bone; he delivers the goods in ease and his timbre is unique for the so far standards. As for the music itself, it is dominated by multiple layers of keys and some sharp riffing that cuts loose. The keyboards parts are portraying the expertise of Andersen at first glance and dominate the music since they are in the foreground in the mix but also include various symphonic parts that can act as interludes within the songs. But nothing here is credited as Prog Metal, since the approach of Andersen in the songwriting seems to be keener on the classical forms of music and/or some more ‘neoclassical’ directives.

The result is breathtaking, nonetheless. “Moving Target” marks the beginning of the tremendous success of ROYAL HUNT in Europe and Japan and - even the following disc, “Paradox” (1997), sounds even better - this 1995 album is now credited as the most important release by these metallers plus its sited as a big influence on bands that were about to pop up out of nowhere, in Scandinavia and Japan mainly, performing the same amalgamation of catchiness, melody/harmony and a neoclassical stint that since then is fairly enough credited as a big part of the post-80s Metal movement.


Tracklist

01. Last Goodbye
02. 1348
03. Makin’ A Mess
04. Far Away
05. Step By Step
06. Autograph
07. Stay Down
08. Give It Up
09. Time


Lineup

André Andersen - Keyboards, Guitar
Jacob Kjaer - Guitar
D.C. Cooper - Vocals
Kenneth Olsen - Drums
Steen Mogensen - Bass