Royal Hunt - Eyewitness 4/5

Reviewed: 8-19-05





Tracklist:

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. Eyewitness


Royal Hunt never seems to be truly standing still and they pull another surprise with this excellent CD. One surprise is that it is John West’s 3rd CD as the band’s singer, marking the first time a Royal Hunt singer has lasted this long. ‘Eyewitness’ moves the band away from the concept album with songs interrelated and almost merging together to a more straight forward song based CD. This was fairly ineffective with the last time they tried it with ‘Fear’, but ‘Eyewitness’ is a very nice mix of familiar Royal Hunt territory with some different sounds and styles which keeps the CD interesting.

There are some typical sounding Royal Hunt tracks like “Hunted”, “Can’t let go” and “Game of fear”. Another typical sounding track for the band, but one that stands out in quality, is the exceptional “Edge of the world”. This is an upbeat, melodic masterpiece that almost requires the listener to repeat a couple of times before continuing on with the CD. “Help us God” is another excellent track, probably the 2nd best on the CD, that draws memories of ‘Paradox’s' “Message to God”, although the former doesn’t reach the latter’s level. What sets ‘Eyewitness’ apart is a few of the other tracks. Melodically, “The prayer” isn’t wholly different from some of Royal Hunt’s other ballads, but it's shorter and more atmospheric than usual. “Wicked lounge” has a true Lounge Bar sound to it and it's exactly what you’d expect from a Lounge Singer. It is totally different from anything Royal Hunt has done before and is done very well. The finale, the title track, is very good, moving from slow to fast before coming to a sudden end with the sound of an old turntable needed scratching off a record. It’s not the way I would have chosen to end the CD, but it is certainly unique.

‘Eyewitness’ is a really nice CD. It maintains many of the familiar traits of Royal Hunt but mixes in enough difference to prevent the listener being bored of the band becoming stagnant. The basic sound of the band hasn’t changed, the performance is excellent and the production is way better than the tinny sound found on ‘The mission’. This is just an all around excellent CD.



DAVID




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