November 23, 2022

Royal Hunt – Dystopia Part II Review

Published by: Northpoint Productions

Release date: October 28, 2022

Genre: Progressive Metal


Line up:

André Andersen – keyboards

DC Cooper – vocals

Andreas Passmark – bass

Jonas Larsen – guitars

Andreas HABO Johansson – drums

List of tracks:

01 Midway (reprise)
02 Thorn in my heart
03 The Key to Madness
04 Live another day
05 The Purge
06 One More Shot
07 Cry of anger
08 Left in the Wind
09 Resurrection F451

Royal Hunt has been in the Progressive world for a long time, for prog heads like me, albums like “Moving Target” and “Paradox” are classics of the genre. The scale is the reason I discovered the great American singer DC Cooper. Their music has always resonated with me, the symphonic brilliance influenced by melodic fusion touches and powerful arrangements have all been a staple of their sound over the years.

The band has had its fair share of adversity since its inception in 1989, mostly centered around the different eras of vocalists, from original vocalist Henrik Brockmann to the DC release, later bringing John West and the great Mark Boals to different points in their existence. That is to say, to this day, they remain stronger than ever after DC Cooper returned to the fold for the release of “Show Me How To Live.” Kudos to Andres Andersen for keeping the pieces glued together and acknowledging the range that has worked best over the years.

Dystopia Part 2, their now 16th studio album, is as you might guess the sequel to their last album Dystopia and a story inspired by Ray Bradbury’s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451”. It’s an interesting dynamic and a reminder of the craziness of the past couple of years, what a fitting continuation of sorts of some of the same themes we’ve been witnessing recently.

That trademark Royal Hunt sound, screaming keys, melodic guitars and thumping drums are all typical here on the first opening “Thorn In My Heart”. The rhythmic classic moves are all here along with the thunderous DC Cooper vocals we’ve come to expect and appreciate. An 8-minute epic of various changes and beats fills in the sound you’ve come to expect from The Hunt and the sound that longtime fans will always appreciate. “Live Another Day”, their debut single, continues the groove and majestic touches that have always been mostly filled in past Royal Hunt songs. Halfway through, the pace slows and Cooper resumes in all his progressive glory, a nice change of pace.

If you know anything about Royal Hunt, it’s that they like to add instrumentals to their albums. Here we have another one via “The Purge,” a cool track that feels like a symphonic jam between Andre Andersen, keyboards versus guitars courtesy of top hatchet Jonas Larsen. This tune has a strong connection to “Black Butterflies” in Part I. Next we have “One More Shot” with guest vocals from Mark Boals (former Royal Hunt) and Henrik Brockmann (original Royal Hunt vocalist) dueted with DC Cooper on the song. The chorus compromise compliments every singer perfectly. The steady beat features another melody that only Royal Hunt could offer. Very cool to hear the previous singer duo on this one, well done guys.

It’s hard to fault this one being unbiased as the band will forever hold a special place among some of my favorite bands. For me most of their material is fantastic, it holds up very well over the years, even with the change of singers, the previous singers have all done a great job in their own right. With Dystopia Part 2 you have a sequel similar to the last Dystopia, and in a way I’m giving credit to the guys for mixing up the different singers, bringing something different to the table and deciding to keep making music after such a long catalog of music. Royal Hunt have been making good music for a long time and chances are they fly under the radar all the time, no idea why but from a long time fan of the band, they are so deserving of your attention. Don’t miss this one!!!

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Written by: Shadow Editor

Rating: 8/10

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