Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Friday, February 3, 2023

Review: Royal Hunt – Dystopia – Part II

Label: North Point Productions / King Records

Date: October 28th, 2022

In modern times, changing subgenre, experimenting in art and especially music is really common, but the winners are actually those who stay in the same style for a very long time and don’t allow to be forgotten. Those are Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Motley Crue and many others. But between them there is also Royal Hunt. The band that exists for more than thirty years and is still rocking. They don’t have an intention to stop, of course. “Dystopia – Part II” is their 16th album so far and, as you can see, that’s one major opus behind them. Progressive, melodic and power metal are music genres not so easy to play. Only musicians with major experience can be masters in this. “Dystopia – Part II” is the end of their previous album called “Dystopia – Part I”.

The first song is an instrumental. Classical for any melodic progressive band, calm, nice, as an overture to some opera. In “Thorn in My Heart” the magic starts. It’s a long, dynamic song with a beautiful melody. Mister DC Cooper is a magnificent singer who really has a lot of influence in Royal Hunt’s music. Keyboard solo with guitar is something that leaves a great trademark on this song as well as the album in general.

“The Key of Insanity” is nothing less epic than the previous song but I must admit it’s a little bit monotonous because I have an impression like I am listening to just the chorus. “The Purge” is, to me at least, the best song on the album. One really epic atmosphere with absolutely marvellous solos. Keyboards are on the level of Children Of Bodom. In my opinion, that’s a really high level. In this genre, the instrumental is the main part and something that defines melodic progressive metal.

“Scream of Anger” is a song that has everything. Good solos, lyrics, different breaks… Not even one part of the song sounds like any other one. My deepest respect for the creativity. The entire album has an operatic atmosphere. It’s epic, like a theatrical play. Every song is a story for itself. Melodically fit like a rhapsody.

“Left in the Wind” is a perfect metal ballad. Every good metal album must have some ballads within. In the 1990’s there was some unwritten rule that next to the fastest song there needs to be a ballad that gives you goose bumps. It sound like when Iron Maiden makes a ballad. You can just listen and cry. No other reason, but pure explosion of emotions.

Name of the next song is “Resurrection F451” and it is inspired by the same titled novel written by Ray Bradbury. It’s an instrumental but symbolises an actual rebirth, cleansing and birth of famous Phoenix bird. A symbol of new life and opportunities.

I think the entire album and work of Royal Hunt is inspired by political and historical situations. Specifically, a novel they are inspired by is about a story of World War II. That’s something they will be known for, I believe. Every song of theirs is epic sounding but actually really heavy and emotional in its own way. Like the story of the book.

The album has potential to become a metal opera because of the subject and the approach this band has to music. As a band with this long history they can actually think about this opera project.

With magical music comes magical cover photo. It’s similar to cover photo of “Dystopia – Part I” but this one is prettier to me. It looks like a door on medieval castles. But I assume that has something to do with the subject of the album. I am not sure what, but they obviously left that to our imagination.