Royal Hunt - Paper Blood
Magna Carta
Progressive Metal
10 songs (56:29)
Release year: 2005
Royal Hunt website, Magna Carta
Reviewed by Cody

I have come to the conclusion that Royal Hunt is the progressive metal equivalent to Iron Maiden. Both bands have the uncanny ability to retain their fanbase by releasing formulaic albums through a tried and true method that allows for bi-yearly releases of quality records with little or no variation in style, all while preserving the ever important catchiness factor. Unfortunately, both bands, like any other band, sometimes fall to the temptation of releasing such repetitive music that it begins to mold together into one solid entity, thus squishing the ever important catchiness factor in many cases. Royal Hunt's latest release, Paper Blood, is one of those albums that maintains their trademark sound to a predictable degree, but goes over the border by marring the catchiness factor turning it into a single blob of John West's vocals, that Baptist-style chorus they maintain on ALL of their albums, and keyboards.

A few years ago I was introduced to Royal Hunt for the first time with the album The Mission. I was blown away by John West's very soulful output over such a neo-classical approach to progressive music. Every single song had very good lyrics, incredibly catchy choruses, and really neat synth stuff. Following my initial exposure to the band, I did what most music fans do--I began to obtain every album I could come across with original material on it, the result of which was disappointing. In my endeavor I had hoped to discover a new outlet for some amazing progressive metal, but what I ended up finding was a rather large back catalogue filled with similar albums of top notch music. The disappointment surprisingly, had nothing to do with the quality of the material, it was because the albums all sounded the same! With the exception of several standout tracks on every album, Royal Hunt maintains a formula that can become very repetitive and monotonous. Not surprisingly however, the band maintains a strong fanbase, which is completely understandable. Royal Hunt, like Iron Maiden, or AC/DC, has a very strict way for making records and their fanbase adores them for it. I say more power to them, but personally if a band begins to lose its catchiness in the process, I have no qualms about leaving the band in the dust until they show me they can crawl back with something that I can nod my head to with a smile on my face.

For me, Paper Blood is a mixed bag of nuts. You have the standard issue peanut and walnut, which taste great some of the time, but usually they are just a filler-upper snack to pass the time. However, in the same mix, you encounter some pistachios and the select few brazilian nuts thrown in also. Every nut compliments the other, but some nuts just stand out, while the others are just safe nuts that you know taste good, but are perhaps sick of. When I listen to an album, the ultimate goal is to be engrossed from beginning to end--this is how I usually judge the worth of albums. Paper Blood is made up of a hell of alot of peanuts with a few pistachios and brazilian nuts thrown in, which is disappointing.

Thus far, I have only listened to this album one full time through. Perhaps upon further listens it will begin to grow on me, but so far this album is just filler for the band. If you are a die hard Royal Hunt fan, you will instantly fall in love with this album. It contains intricate keyboards interlaced with their trademarked neo classical guitar riffage. There are also some stand out moments, like a cool drum solo on Twice Around the World around the 4 minute mark, some catchy choruses, and some surprising guitar solos that add alot of chops to certain songs. This album is standard Royal Hunt fare with nothing new to offer, I am hoping that more listens will change my opinion, but for the time being I would only suggest this album to those who enjoy the Royal Hunt sound and are not as picky as me.

Killing Songs :
Not My Kind, Twice Around the World
Cody quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Royal Hunt that we have reviewed:
Royal Hunt - Devils Dozen reviewed by Alex and quoted 84 / 100
Royal Hunt - A Life to Die For reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Royal Hunt - Show Me How to Live reviewed by Alex and quoted 84 / 100
Royal Hunt - X reviewed by Erik and quoted 79 / 100
Royal Hunt - Paradox II - Collision Course reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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