Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Royal Hunt - Fear

Crappy cover art notwithstanding, Royal Hunt have proven themselves able to bounce back from their nasty lawyer-fueled battle with ex-lead singer D.C. Cooper. New belter John West (Artension) is a cold, logical and appropriate choice to front this album, seamlessly performing in front of Andre Anderson's keyboard-drenched compositions, songs that are getting longer, more arresting and self-important. Through strange and booming stadium rock production values, the band has found a way to send prog rock songs into the prog metal arena without plundering heavily from the rigid and over-exposed tenets of power metal. It's essentially a strange mix of keyboards and drums, with a little bit of guitar and vocals hanging around to blend the two disparate up-front elements. This ultimately is Royal Hunt's star zone trump card, the band sampling traces of Dream Theater's new spirituality, the odd bits of Queensryche few are studying (Empire), and regal tones from Turner-era Rainbow, while emanating a strong central keyboard persona of their own cult status making.
Rating 8