Royal Hunt - The Mission review
01. Take Off
02. The Mission
03. Exit Gravity
05. Clean Sweep
06. Judgement Day
08. World Wide War
10. Out Of Reach
11. Fourth Dimension
12. Days Of No Trust
13. Total Recall
Royal Hunt, the most well-known Progressive band from Denmark, has a long career and is basically a one-man band seeing that the other members are always different, either guests or already fired as we speak. So basically, Royal Hunt is Andre Andersen, great compositor, keyboard/guitar player, usually leaving the guitar parts to another guy, here it was Jacob Kjaer who was handling this difficult task with talent. The rest of the band was composed by Steen Morgensen on bass and the famous John West on vocals. Andersen also used two guest drummers for the album and two background singers.
This concept album entitled "The Mission" is part of a trilogy and as the artwork suggests it, this album is based on the books "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury. The whole concept is a good idea since it's an easy one to follow with the help of the booklet.
The music itself is what you can expect from a talented compositor such as Andre Andersen, symphonic as possible, with an emphasis on keyboard solos and great lyric lines from John West. As a result, some songs are excellent while others are very close to being classified cheesy. Oddly, these are probably the most interesting tracks due to their emotional feeling. Just have a listen to 'Judgement Day' and see for yourself. About the excellent songs, 'Surrender', 'World Wide War' and 'Total Recall' are my picks.
The album is structured following a pattern of one short instrumental followed by a "full" song until the final composed by a duo of truly epic songs. First, I have to point out that every single instrumental track is splendid, especially the piano sonata 'Metamorphosis' and the guitar leaded intro 'Dreamline'. Then, this pattern is perfect to follow the story. The ballads 'Out Of Reach' and 'Days Of No Trust' are honest if you don't concentrate on the backing vocals, which bring these "cheesy effect" throughout the entire album and are largely responsible for my rating.
To sum up, "The Mission" is an interesting release by its musical diversity and this side of keyboards-leaded melodies rarely found elsewhere. It's really a transporting trip into space. Nevertheless, despite a great singer, the average level of vocals are pretty low due to low quality background vocals, hence my rating. Should be listened before buying but could satisfy without!
Written on 03.02.2004 by
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