Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996)

Posted: October 2, 2008 in Album Reviews, Feature Week
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996, SPV)

CD 1

  1. Flight
  2. 1348
  3. Wasted Time
  4. Stay Down
  5. On The Run
  6. Stranded
  7. Keyboard solo
  8. Martial Arts
  9. Far Away
  10. Last Goodbye
  11. Land Of Broken Hearts
  12. Makin’ A Mess

CD 2

  1. Clown In The Mirror
  2. Guitar solo
  3. Step By Step
  4. Drum & Bass solos
  5. Running Wild
  6. Epilogue
  7. Age Gone Wild
  8. 10 To Life
  9. Legion Of The Damned
  10. Kingdom Dark
  11. Time

Total Time = 1:57:31

Royal Hunt official website

In the late ’90s, I used to shop at a record store 20 minutes from my home called 2 Guys Music. This shop was a small hole-in-the-wall store in a local shopping plaza that catered to fans of Rock, Classic Rock and Heavy Metal. They had a well-stocked CD section, large used CD section (“Buy 3 Get 1 Free”), and the Import section. I spent hours in that store twice week: new release Tuesday and Saturday mornings when all the CDs traded in for cash Friday night were on the racks! The guys behind the counter used to play all the newer bands on the stereo that I had never heard before, especially albums from the Import section, and that’s how I discovered Royal Hunt.

It was 1999 and I was buying up Metal CDs like crazy and the Import section at 2 Guys took a lot of my attention and money. All the new European and Japanese imports were usually there and higher in price but that didn’t stop me from taking a chance on a couple of Royal Hunt albums. I grabbed LIVE 1996 for $17.99, not bad for a double disc set, and MOVING TARGET (1995), the first album to feature lead vocalist D.C. Cooper. When I got to the car, I meant to put MOVING TARGET in the CD player but I ended up putting in the first CD of LIVE 1996 in by mistake. The cool thing is that by listening to LIVE 1996 first I ended up getting a sampling of Royal Hunt’s entire discography (3 albums & an E.P.) with 7 songs coming from the band’s first album LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS (1992), 6 songs from CLOWN IN THE MIRROR (1993), and 7 songs from MOVING TARGET.  LIVE 1996 was recorded on the band’s tour of Japan in the first week of June 1996. Royal Hunt was extremely popular in Japan at the time and winning many national awards for Album Of The Year for MOVING TARGET.

Royal Hunt is a Progressive Metal band kind of like Dream Theater but more melodic. The songwriting and musicianship is very strong and D.C. Cooper’s vocal range is amazing (he was up for the Judas Priest vocal slot to replace Rob Halford)! Over the course of two discs, Royal Hunt gives off a blistering performance of almost 3 full albums of material and they include 3 solo sections so they rest of the band can have center stage. The stars of the album is D.C. Cooper and his female backup singers, they just really make you stand up and take notice of the powerful vocals and lyrics. As far as individual songs, there are 20 songs here and they are all done extrememly well but some of my favorites are: ‘Land Of Broken Hearts’, ’1348′, ‘Far Away’ (the band’s Japanese #1 single), ‘Step By Step’ and ‘Age Gone Wild’. I can honestly say that aside from the 3 solo sections and the instrumental ‘Martial Arts’, the entire live album is solid.

After buying LIVE 1996 and listening to it non-stop, it took me only a couple of weeks to update my Royal Hunt collection. I picked up the first two albums, 1997′s PARADOX (which came as a box set with a bonus CD of the album performed live called CLOSING THE CHAPTER), and D.C. Cooper’s 1999 solo album. What I didn’t know was that Royal Hunt’s original singer, Henrik Brockmann, is featured on the first two albums and that D.C. Cooper had left Royal Hunt sometime in 1998. I’ve listened to the first two albums with Brockmann on vocals and I prefer the live versions from the LIVE 1996 performance with D.C. Cooper…..Cooper has more range than Brockmann and can easily hit the higher registers. It also sounds like the band had tightened and evolved their sound with Cooper by the live album, making the older material much stronger. I listen to this album a lot to this day because the music is so melodic even with all the soloing and keyboard heavy songs.

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Comments
  1. David says:

    One of my favourite releases ever! very good taste!

  2. Renny Tsolova says:

    Cool performance! DC is one of the best voices of the Universe!

  3. [...] released only in Japan and only included the 1996 Japanese concert that is featured on the LIVE 1996 live record. With the return of D.C. Cooper to the band, and the new album SHOW ME HOW TO LIVE [...]

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