ROYAL HUNT – Paper Blood

ROYAL HUNT - Paper Blood


Frontiers Records
Release date: June 6, 2005

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Symphonic Metal masters Royal Hunt are back from a 3-year hiatus with a new masterpiece, Paper Blood. These European Metal masters have been around since 1992, and defined Symphonic Metal way before Rhapsody even thought of releasing Legendary Tales.

Led by maestro Andre Andersen, the band has gone through a lot of different lineups in their 13 year career. Paper Blood is the first album with the current lineup, with guitar player Marcus Jidell being the latest addition to the band. John West has been replacing D.C. Cooper for a while in the band, and has filled his shoes competently.

The record begins with “Break Your Chains,” starting with the mandatory atmospheric intro every Symphonic album must have. The song has non-stop double bass and great singing. Andre Andersen’s virtuosity is showcased right at the beginning of the song with lots of fast-paced keyboard shredding. Marcus Jidell’s guitars fill the bill completely, bringing new life to Royal Hunt’s music. All the Royal Hunt trademark elements are present here, from big Hard Rock-ish choruses, including female voices, to Neo-Classical sounding passages.

“Not My Kind” is more of a Traditional Heavy Metal song, not relying on symphonic parts to stand out, and with some Rock Hammond-ish keyboards added my Mr. Andersen. John West’s interpretation in this song reminds of Joe Lynn Turner’s Rising Force days.

The Beethoven inspired intro in “Memory Lane” shows that even being a virtuoso, Andre Andersen still has the right feeling for more emotional soloing. After the (seemingly endless) intro, comes in a section that, if not being a rip off, at least reminds of Angra’s “Nothing to Say” from Holy Land. Jidell adds to the song with Neo-Classical shredding, along with Andersen’s arpeggiated harpsichords. This song is an instrumental one, while not being a total technical show-off.

“Never Give Up” keeps up with the Neo-Classical / Symphonic mood, with more melodic singing by John West. The ever-present Hard Rock choirs are here again, to make sure the chorus sticks in your head.

The next track in Paper Blood, “Seven Days,” has nothing to do with the movie The Ring, but is another Royal Hunt standard song, featuring exaggerated keyboard soloing by Andersen. John’s more intimate singing is truly a highlight here, along with the almost Edguy-like harmony choir in the pre-chorus bridge.

Another instrumental Neo-Classical Symphonic track, “SK 983,” could’ve been present in some nineties video game soundtrack, with great synth melody lines and fast drumming.

The first ballad in Paper Blood, “Kiss of Faith,” has emotional-sounding slide guitar work, and intimate singing, along with Rock organs and pianos, that really break the Neo-Classical mood from the rest of the record. This is one of the record’s highlight tracks, due to being so unique.

Back to the more Heavy Metal mood with “Not My Kind,” and the title track “Paper Blood” is as heavy as they come. This track could belong in any late Judas Priest record, with an evil atmosphere. This mood is brought down by the chorus, which is a really letdown in an otherwise cool track.

The triumphant yet touchy “Season’s Change” is a Ballad / Symphonic crossover that really works. It’s not cheesy or corny sounding, and has the right mood to hear when you’re broken hearted, while not loosing the Metal attitude. If you’re tired of Andre Andersen soloing all the time, this track gives you some time to breathe too.

Closing the record, “Twice Around The World” has more of a Deep Purple / Classic Rock feel to it. As the longest instrumental track in Paper Blood, scoring in at more than seven minutes, the track flirts between all styles touched by every other song in the record, and leaves you wanting more.

While not being too far beyond other Royal Hunt’s records, Paper Blood is a good album, with as much variety as you could expect from a Symphonic Metal band. It’s surely nice to know that Royal Hunt are still alive and breathing, and making such good music 13 years after their first record.


Andre Andersen – Keyboards
John West – Vocals
Marcus Jidell – Guitars
Kenneth Olsen – Drums


  • Alex Reis

    Alex is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, born and raised in Curitiba, PR, Brazil, yet living in Antwerp, Belgium, since 2010. AC/DC was his first intro to Rock and Metal, but Metallica and Iron Maiden were the turning point for his love of the genre. Alex has played the guitar since he was 14, and has been an aspiring musician ever since.  Also serving as lead guitarist and vocalist for Belgian/Brazilian Hard Rock outfit SSC, Alex and co. have released a single a few years ago, but are yet to follow with a full-length  release that's been 20 years in the works. When Alex is not writing for MER or making music, he works at the Belgian tech scene, having served as CTO and other technical roles in numerous startups and organizations.

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