Royal Hunt - Cast In Stone

Royal Hunt - Cast In Stone

(CD, Northpoint Productions, 2018)

The never-ending machine continues lead by the musical mastermind André Andersen. After 25 years in the business, 13 studio albums and countless live albums, Danish pride ROYAL HUNT is back with the 14th album titled “Cast In Stone”. Danish? Well, the two Andreas are Swedish and then American vocalist extraordinaire D.C. Cooper makes only two fifths Danish, so I guess international is a more right label. No matter what, ROYAL HUNT have made their mark in the melodic Progressive Heavy Metal scene and “Cast In Stone” continues down the same old tracks. But...

Suggestive album opener “Fistful Of Misery” contain all the regular elements present in ROYAL HUNT's music, dynamics, melody and pompous musical arrangements. Also, a sticky chorus-line and this is surely a good view of what's to come. Second track “The Last Soul Alive” has more of a '70s-'80s classic feel to it. The dark and melancholic harmonies that RAINBOW introduced and DIO and Yngwie Malmsteen pulled in different directions from the founder are there, with the unique touch of ROYAL HUNT. It sounds exactly like ROYAL HUNT but not like any other ROYAL HUNT track. It all stays within the framework presented throughout the years but still unique when it comes to individual songs.

Another thing that sets ROYAL HUNT apart from most other bands in the genre is the presence of tracks like “Sacrifice”, “The Wishing Well” and “Rest In Peace” which are more straightforward Rock songs. The punch in the very open verses in the first of the three in contrast towards the massive melody is fantastic. It is melodic and heavy as hell. The intensity in the chorus-line for “The Wishing Well” is crazy, that everything, all instruments can be so full on, guitars, bass as well as keyboard and still be crystal clear is beyond me. Precision to the max, both when it comes to musical performance and production. And that's another thing I love with ROYAL HUNT; their sound is basic and organic, the dynamics are there. It's full and modern but still vibrant, genial. It all is pleasant to listen to and the track in question is definitely one of the best on the record. I'm a sucker for long epic tracks and with close to 8 minutes “The Wishing Well” surely ends up under that label. The last of the three is oozing of classic '80s Heavy Metal, the up-tempo mean riffs cuts through the keyboards and this could very well be a new live-hit.

After the instrumental title track comes one of my absolute favorites from the album; the epic “A Million Ways To Die”. It's almost always the dark and moody tracks from ROYAL HUNT that appeal the most to me and this one definitely contains all those. D.C. Cooper’s expression and nerve he has in his voice are magnificent and then, that the track is catchy and very memorable but holds some oddities when it comes to timing just makes it stand out even more. It's one of those tracks I crank up whatever mood I'm in, if happy I get euphoric, if down it makes me feel better.

“Cast In Stone” is a very well-written record, it has variation and dynamics and absolutely stands strong in the ROYAL HUNT catalogue. It's the title-track (which isn't that strange since it's instrumental) and album closer “Save Me II” that feel a little anonymous compared to the rest. Those two don't hook me in as much as the rest, I have a hard time recollect what song it was after the record has finished. I don't have anything to complain about with these songs, it's just that they don't strike me as hard as the rest. But a damn good album it is!





01. Fistful Of Misery
02. The Last Soul Alive
03. Sacrifice
04. The Wishing Well
05. Cast In Stone
06. A Million Ways To Die
07. Rest In Peace
08. Save Me II


André Andersen - Keyboards
D.C. Cooper - Vocals
Andreas Passmark - Bass
Jonas Larsen - Guitars
Andreas Habo Johansson - Drums