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   ROYAL HUNT
Eye Witness
2003
Frontiers Records
http://www.royalhunt.com


rating: 4/5

1. Hunted
2. Can't Let Go
3. The Prayer
4. Edge Of The World
5. Burning The Sun
6. Wicked Lounge
7. 5th Element
8. Help Us God
9. Game Of Fear
10. Eye Witness

Having released such near-perfect melody-full albums as "Moving Target", "Paradox", "Fear" and "The Mission" I expect no less than perfection when a new album from the Danish melodic metal/hard rockers Royal Hunt is at hand. Royal Hunt are known for music that combines classic hard rock with melodic metal and occasioanlly even some progressive elements, although there isn't anything progressive on this particular Royal Hunt album. And all the time Andre Andersen's keyboards are the strongest factor that carry the whole band forward, not to forget John West's amazing vocal performance. "Eyewitness" is the seventh full-length studio release from Royal Hunt and with this one we see the end to the Martian Chronicles-based lyrics.

"Hunted" opens the album with typical classy Royal Hunt tune. A synth lead and layers and layers of synths by the band's mastermind Andersen. On "Can't Let Go" we hear Royal Hunt attempting to sound "cool" in a way, but unfortunately the song remains a little flat. Although it also features some Royal Hunt trademarks it sounds a bit too typical hard rock to be Royal Hunt. On "The Prayer" we hear a church organ and one really gets the feeling of sitting silently in a church. I can't help it, but it just feels like this song is a bit out of place on the album. The surprisingly heavy and crunchy "Edge Of The World" is also a great one that rises the hopes with its wonderful singalong chorus. "Burning The Sun" starts off with atmospheric synth and soon grows into a great example of what the band is capable of. Excellent chorus and amazing keyboard performance once again. "Wicked Lounge" is another one that feels really out of place on the album. You get the feeling of being at a jazz club and there's some whiny band playing. Luckily the band gets back on track on "5th Element", an instrumental that varies from speedy uplifting parts to beautiful slower parts and the guitar/synth co-operation is simply amazing. "Help Us God" offers a nice laid back atmosphere with yet another catchy chorus. "Game Of Fear" is from the heavier side of the album also features a real singalong chorus. The album ending title track starts as a beautiful ballad, but soon grows into a typical uptempo Royal Hunt tune.

The album features a few tracks that aren't the usual stuff these Danes are known for and therefore feel a little misplaced on the album, but the rest of the material is of the guaranteed Royal Hunt quality. As a conclusion I think this is melodic hardrock/metal from the top of the genre, but Royal Hunt themselves have set the standards so high that this album feels slightly disappointing compared to their earlier efforts. All the same, this is a very good album that I can easily recommend, especially to the fans of the band.

submitted by Aleksi 19.09.2003

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