Royal Hunt - 'In The Heart Of The City (Best Of 1992 - 1999)'

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Royal Hunt - 'In The Heart Of The City (Best Of 1992 - 1999)'

Soaring melodies, profuse keyboard orchestration, shimmering guitar runs and hooks to die for.

Unquestionably one of the most unique hard rock acts to emerge during the last couple of decades, Royal Hunt are one of those bands that tend to polarise opinions. There are those who view their penchant for overblown bombast as little more than pretentious twaddle, whilst others (myself included I must say) hold the view that without their trailblazing sound much of the theatrical rock and metal we take for granted today simply wouldn’t exist!

Founded in Denmark back in the late 80’s as an outlet for the extrovert musical compositions of Russian born composer Andre Andersen, the band has undergone more than its fair share of line ups over the years. It’s well known in the business that Andersen can be a hard task master, difficult to work with even, his oft zealous pursuit of perfection not exactly the kind of behaviour likely to endear him to those around him. I’m sure those with a passion for psychology could make much of this ‘driven’ personality trait, but when you listen to the breathtaking majesty that is the Royal Hunt back catalogue how could anyone logically argue that the end doesn’t justify the means?

Recently reunited with mid 90’s vocalist DC Cooper (considered by many to be the definitive voice of Royal Hunt), the band are currently embarked on their 20th Anniversary jaunt around mainland Europe, and to help celebrate even further their record company are about to release ‘In The Heart of The City...’, the band’s first official ‘Best Of..’ set.

Concentrating on the 90’s and pulling together ten mouth-watering tracks from their first five studio albums (all long since deleted and therefore increasingly difficult to track down at a reasonable price), if you’re still undecided or new to the musical enigma that is Royal Hunt, this is actually a pretty good place to start. Succinctly summing up the neo-classically infused pomp and circumstance that is in essence the Royal Hunt sound, I could wax lyrical at length about any one of the ten tracks included here (or indeed lament the omission of a dozen more – why no ‘Message To God’ for example), but suffice to say, once heard the likes of ‘Clown In The Mirror’, ‘Kingdom Dark’, ‘Tearing Down The World’, and the brooding ‘Fear’ will indelibly imprint themselves on your subconscious mind!

Soaring melodies, profuse keyboard orchestration, shimmering guitar runs and hooks to die for sum up Royal Hunt, and you won’t find better proof of that than this CD. Just a shame it wasn’t a double album or included a few rarities ... then it really would have been a ‘must have’ for fans old and new alike!

Dave Cockett

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