It was the year 1992, the year which saw DREAM THEATER release their classic “Images And Words” album, an album by which all else will be judged in the following years. But it was also the year when the guys from SHADOW GALLERY celebrated their debut and the same goes for the Danes of ROYAL HUNT. But the record has reached my ears only some years after its release and by that time I had already heard the later releases of the band, so it is really hard to tell what my first impression would have been, if this was the first album I heard from the band. I will never know.
But what I know for sure was that I had been really impressed by the other albums and I was eager to hear what ROYAL HUNT had to offer on their debut album. Some of the songs I had already heard on their live record from 1996, but performed by DC Cooper and so the next question arose, how did those songs sound performed by the original singer, cause the performance of DC Cooper is really one of a kind.
I can tell you right now that I wasn’t disappointed by what I heard on the record at all. The music presented here by ROYAL HUNT is a bit different from the music they would play later on, but one can easily recognize who is performing here. It is undeniable that the arrival of DC Cooper gave a new kick to the band and Andre Andersen evolved into a more mature song-writer in time, but these facts by no means diminish the credits this album really deserves. An album which I consider is unjustly shadowed by the later recordings.
And what do the guys offer on “Land Of Broken Hearts”? Well, the music is that typical, very melodic, keyboard-ridden Metal, which here still holds a big share of Hard Rock influences. So the trademarks of the band are already clearly audible, but they were still in need of maturity, which would come with time. The performance of the vocalist Henrik Brockmann is really worthy of praise, he delivers a fine performance and his voice really fits this kind of music and above all he can mould his voice perfectly to fit all the various songs.
In case you are not yet familiar with ROYAL HUNT, maybe you should not begin with this album, but if so then you should always keep in mind that all that is offered here, will be better dressed to size and brought to a higher level in the years to come. Recommended tracks: “Stranded”, “Kingdom Dark” or “Day In Day Out”, the last song also has a video made for. Enjoy!
(Online December 4, 2006)