Royal Hunt - Paradox 4.5/5

Reviewed: 8-19-05


1. The awakening
2. River of pain
3. Tearing down the world
4. Message to God
5. Long way home
6. Time will tell
7. Silent scream
8. It's over

Royal Hunt showed the potential to go beyond what they did on their first 2 CDs when D.C. Cooper became their new vocalist when recording ‘Moving target’. While that CD was marred by inconsistent songwriting, Royal Hunt puts all the pieces together on ‘Paradox’ and makes its first great CD. ‘Paradox’ is a thematic CD about religion with the music and lyrics rolling nicely from one track to the next.

There is only one track instantly recognizable as a great song, that being "Message to God". What makes this CD special is how all the tracks fit and merge together. Guitarist Jacob Kiaer is incorporated into the melodies much better than in the past and André Andersen's songwriting is much more consistent and progressive. "Long way home" is a ballad much in the same vein as "Far away" off of 'Moving target', but it has a very good fast section in the middle. The CD picks up steam as it goes with the final 3 tracks ending the CD on a very high note. The almost 10 minute "Time will tell" is the most progressive song Royal Hunt has made to date and the transition from "Silent scream" to "It's over" is perfectly done.

The CD has a very thick sound with all instruments clearly audible. Anderson's keyboards are interwound into the songs wonderfully and Kiaer's guitar is always doing something, whether he is soloing, trading off with Anderson, or just playing a background part. Not only does Cooper have exceptional range, but his voice merges perfectly with the sound of the rest of the band. There are lots of layered vocals on this CD, all sung by Cooper and guest Kenny Lubcke.

‘Paradox’ is a brilliant CD reaching a high point of which Royal Hunt always seemed to be capable. The band sounds terrific and has now fully integrated D.C. Cooper into the band. Anderson's songwriting is progressive, interesting, and constantly melodic. This CD is clearly much more than the sum of its parts and in addition to everything else has a very nice, thick production. This is a wonderful CD is almost every way.




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