Just one year after having released their debut album “Land Of Broken Hearts”, the Danes from ROYAL HUNT were already back with their next album, bearing the title “Clown In The Mirror”. And after the felicitous start we could really be expecting something from this band.
One thing is clear right from the start: the keyboard-sound remains the same and dominates the picture, or the music actually. After a really brief Intro, they start full of energy and are really wasting no time with “Wasted Time”. A song which I was already familiar with from their live album, released some years later and there is no doubt that the song is just as good here on the record as performed live. The sound of the album is somewhat better than that of the debut record and the songs also got better, they are more solid, even though one must bear in mind that only one year lies between them.
“Ten To Life” is a calmer song, but yet again it holds a lot of energy and is really a live sweeper. The sound oscillates between acoustic passages and keyboard-ridden “electric” tunes. “On The Run” then takes its well deserved place in the long line of faster and bombastic ROYAL HUNT hits. The quality of the songs is really ok, one was not expecting any surprises and there are none on this record, maybe with the great ballad “Clown In The Mirror” the guys offered something that was missing from the debut album, a song that hits both on the record or performed line, no matter if with Brockmann, Cooper or West on the vocals.
“Bodyguard” reveals yet again some stronger Hard Rock influences, both in the lyrics and music, it is by far not a bad song, but they can offer so much more than this, but it is not always about proving your writing and composing skills to the fullest, but also about having some fun and that legitimates a lighter track like this one, but still bearing the ROYAL HUNT trademarks and that saves it from being average. The next track “Legion Of The Damned” is a ballad and convinces with good melody lines and a decent vocal performance by Brockmann.
With the following track we have the next typical ROYAL HUNT sweeper, “Here Today Gone Tomorrow”, it is really a first class performance, which will definitely stick to your ears, with good, catchy chorus and those brilliant choir-parts...really fits everything here. “Bad Blood” teams up with the already mentioned “Bodyguard” in the light-weight division, but is just like the former a good song, which for some reasons reminds me of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN – just the title I guess. “Epilogue” crowns this really good record, again delivering a very catchy chorus and a marvelous instrumentation, really, really good.
Conclusion: ROYAL HUNT haven’t reinvented the wheel with their second album, that is for sure, they have stayed true to their style and pursued the path they have followed on their debut record. It is Melodic Metal of the better kind, which is really fun to listen to. The guys have improved on all levels and areas, what else is to be expected from a band? Enjoy!
(Online December 4, 2006)