Royal Hunt has a long history being in progressive world since 1992 with their debut Land of Broken Heart. They were started as a band that combined power metal with progressive elements. Coming from Denmark, they exactly just like the combination of Europe and Stratovarius. By the time goes, Royal Hunt begin to distance them self with mainstream and become much progressive, withdrawing cheesy power metal elements. Then the band going to lots of formation exchange. Vocalist Mark Boals was once on the band, but then original D.C. Cooper return to the band and make up today's line up of Royal Hunt. Eventually, the band did not get better known in the scene of progressive metal, where the like of Symphony X become 'references' in this progressive-power metal genre.
A Life To Die For is their 2013 album, the 12th. It's the second album with returned D.C.Cooper. Their previous one Show Me How to Live, is a great one. Many reviewers seen this album lend toward orchestration and I agree with it. Most of the song start with orchestration rather than distortion guitar. Hell Comes Down From Heaven is the first track and it comes with two minutes of orchestration intro. This is a mid tempo galloping progressive metal tunes. It's cinematic in style, fit as the first track as it's successful in bringing listeners to the sea of musical journey in the next couple of minutes. A Bullet's Tale gradually raised the tension, we were met with a female lead in the intro. The verses is very storytelling in style, more complexity coming. As in Running Out Of Tears, this is bring back to their earlier style, remember the song Running Wild? They share very similar drumming feel I think. Kind of AOR in spirit with memorable "Running Out of Tears..." choruses. One Minute Left To Live again let the orchestration take over the overall leading riffs, most grander work of orchestration here. The album never getaway from sad feeling as Sign of Yesterday only further it deeper. Won't Trust, Won't Fear, Won't Beg is like the arrival of climax in the story line, more tambourine, more string attack. The last piece A Life To Die For is the only track where distortion take intro, it's the last number out of seven song. In the final phase of the song there is a passage of operatic singing, which is climax-ing. It's good to see a band confident enough to put all prime song in their album despite the running time was only over 45 minutes. No filler on this album.
A Life To Die For is heavily orchestrated progressive metal album. Almost absence of guitar leading riffs, so expected no catchy moment in the intro. There were also not much fast tempo song. This is serious work of progressive. I rated that all song are well written. It's a shame that album such as this quality can't get enough into the mainstream. Jonas Larsen solos are mostly melodious, he got lots of time to focus on the continuation after the orchestration starts the things. Andre Andersen is to be the person responsible to all epic composition on this. While D.C. Cooper added the human voices elements with great execution. The album will stand a long hours of rewind.
Metal Harem class: ********** nine stars out of ten
Royal Hunt - A Life To Die For (2013)
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01. Hell Comes Down From Heaven
02. A Bullet's Tale
03. Running Out Of Tears
04. One Minute Left To Live
05. Sign Of Yesterday
06. Won't Trust, Won't Fear, Won't Beg
07. A Life To Die For
Allan Sorensen Drums
André Andersen Keyboards, Guitars, Bass
D.C. Cooper Vocals
Andreas Passmark Bass
Jonas Larsen Guitars
Royal Hunt A Life To Die For album review