Royal Hunt - Fear 2.5/5

Reviewed: 8-19-05


1. Fear
2. Faces of war
3. Cold city lights
4. Lies
5. Follow me
6. Voices
7. Sea of time

‘Fear’ is Royal Hunt’s 5th studio album, and features their 3rd lead singer. For ‘Fear’, Artension vocalist John West has replaced D.C. Cooper on vocals. The change is not actually a downgrade because as great a singer as DC Cooper is, West is an equally accomplished singer, although his voice has a little less personality than Cooper’s has. West doesn't have the range of Cooper, but in the lower ranges his voice is extremely powerful and has excellent feeling and emotion. Other than the singer, little has changed for Royal Hunt. All the tracks are, again, written by the classically influenced keyboardist André Andersen. All the songs here are very good; however, there is nothing which stands out as brilliant, so it appears possible that Andersen is in a small rut with his songwriting.

The title track is the opener. It is very good, but soft and very slow building, so the CD gets off to a slow start. The pace is picked up with the excellent "Faces of war"; the straight–forward 80s sounding "Cold city nights"; and "Lies", which is a very energetic track, perhaps the best on the CD. A good, but unoriginal ballad, entitled "Follow me", is next, followed by the final 2 tracks: the uptempo "Voices", and "Sea of time", which is a very singable track, reminiscent of some of the tracks from Royal Hunt's 2nd CD, 'Clown in the mirror’.

While the CD clocks in at a solid 49-plus minutes, there are only 7 tracks. Although they are all of a good length, they have standard structures; no creative changes throughout the songs which are often found in longer songs. Overall, this CD feels a little rushed due to the good, but uninspired. While it’s predecessor ‘Paradox’ felt like it was the result of a tremendous amount of work, 'Fear' feels like it was released just to get the next Royal Hunt CD released. It is still a good CD, however it is a shame the the band couldn’t build on the momentum of ‘Paradox’ and, instead started over with a new singer and personality.




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