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Royal Hunt – Live 2006

Label: Frontiers Records
Format: DVD/CD
Released: 2006
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Many in the U.S. probably know little about this underrated band called Royal Hunt, which is your loss if you ask me. The band got its start in the early 1990s with 93’s "Land of Broken Hearts" and "Clown in the Mirror" (1994) where their sound and style started off as more straight forward melodic hard rock/metal reminiscent of TNT and Bon Jovi. D.C. Cooper (currently singing for Silent Force) came into the picture for "Moving Target" in 1995 and "Paradox" in 1997 where the band started to incorporate more progressive touches to their melodic sound. Come 1999 John West (who did some vocals for the third and final Badlands album "Dusk") joined the band for "Fear" and has been the singer ever since. Around this time is when Royal Hunt mainman Andre Andersen’s keyboard became really a prominent element to the band’s style while still mixing with AOR/melodic rock sounds to really solidify their style. With 2001’s "The Mission" one can draw several parallels to Queensryche’s "Empire".


For this taping the band were out supporting their 2005 release “Paper Blood”. Filmed at St. Petersburg Music Hall in Russia with 7 cameras, their performance captures a very professional and classy look, very reflective of both band and its music. Track selection featured at least one song from each release, long time favorites like ‘Message to God’ and the instrumental ‘Martial Arts’ plus ‘Never Give Up’, ‘Sk983’ and the title track off their latest "Paper Blood". The band’s performance was on the money, lighting was sharp and clarity in sound was pristine, almost too perfect. You can’t even hear the crowd most of the time and with the camera work very few shots though of the crowd were included which is odd for the usual live concert. So the focus here was really on the band.

I have never seen Royal Hunt live unfortunately because they never play the States but they do remind me very much of what Queensryche was doing for "Empire" and John West’s voice has a mix of theater, rock, and soul which makes for a very enjoyable listening experience. A very precise, clear and clean sounding band with vocal harmonies and guitar/keyboard in the forefront for every song.

The only extras is a backstage footage segment of the band’s visit to Russia and their thoughts on the country and how this DVD taping went, some rehearsal footage, and interviews with each member.

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