Moving Target

Royal Hunt

Magna Carta Records, 1996

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Many people might have made the mistake of thinking that Royal Hunt's album Paradox was their first album. After all, this was most likely the first time that American audiences had heard this Danish quintet with an American singer, so they had to be new on the market, right?

Wrong. In fact, Royal Hunt has been around for some time, but it was only recently that the band got their chance to break through in America. Now that their first effort has been moderately successful, their third album (and the first with singer D.C. Cooper), Moving Target, has seen the light of day in the States. And while it's nowhere near as ambitious as the religious pondering that made up my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Paradox, it is a good example of "prog-lite".

The band - guitarist Jacob Kjaer, keyboardist/guitarist Andre Anersen, bassist Steen Mogensen and drummer Kenneth Olsen (who has since left the band) - produce a form of progressive rock that is rich but not overly heavy on the keyboards while keeping their songs and messages surprisingly short. Only two of the eleven songs on Moving Target clock in at over five minutes - and from a band that can do longer pieces without losing listener interest, the cut in time is a bit disappointing.

The only other real disappointment is that I kept waiting for guitar fireworks from Kjaer, but they never seemed to come. Granted, he lets his guitar work speak through the music itself, but there were some times that I would have liked to hear an Yngwie-like solo from him. (Then again, maybe if he did provide them on this album, I'd be complaining about them. I'm never satisfied...)

Musically, Moving Target satisfies. Cooper's vocals are powerful and controlled, adding a whole new dimension to the music. Tracks like "Far Away" (including a bonus acoustic version, which is even better than the original), "Step By Step" and "1348" all show that Royal Hunt is a band that is more than deserving of listeners' attention - though I'll never understand on "1348" how December equals "13".

If anything, releasing Moving Target after the wonder that was Paradox actually hurts Royal Hunt a bit. I found myself looking for threads that connected the songs, and kept waiting for the grand development of the songs that made Paradox so powerful. Had I heard Moving Target first, I'd probably be singing its praises more than I am now; instead, I'm doing something unfair by comparing the two works, which are their own separate creations. After all, Paradox featured a band with two more years' experience together.

Moving Target is a decent enough effort, and if this will be your first taste of Royal Hunt, you won't go away disappointed. But its taste isn't nearly as sweet as Paradox was.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Magna Carta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.