Frontiers Records
Release date: April 23, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Andre Andersen, leader and keyboard player with Danish pomp giants Royal Hunt, has over the years created some of the finest music that the genre has produced, with both Moving Target and Paradox being watershed releases, and the focus for many an aspiring musician to reach. Never one to be inactive for long, Andersen has decided to make use of the downtime between Royal Hunt albums in the way he knows best … writing and producing music … and so he began working on his latest project. This time Andersen’s aim was to move away from the more overblown aspects of Royal Hunt and produce something a lot leaner, harder, and more direct — and the result is III.

Andersen seems to have the knack for working with top notch singers. With Royal Hunt, DC Cooper and the superb John West provided the vocal foil to Andersen’s keyboard-driven masterpieces. On III, Andersen has picked former Danger Danger and current Shugaazer vocalist Paul Laine, along with David Readman of Pink Cream 69 fame, to take alternate turns at the mic. Originally conceived as a joint venture with Laine, Andersen decided to develop the project further by bringing in Readman as a second lead vocalist, a move that adds to the overall urgency of the release, and gives a greater variety to the songs offered.

Kicking off with “Rise,” things get off to a frantic start with a punishing guitar riff and a flurry of Andersen’s trademark keyboard runs before Laine enters the fray. His velvet tones and powerful delivery give the opener a strong melodic punch, and sets the scene for what is yet to come over the course of the album.

Readman’s first contribution comes in the shape of “Dust To Dust,” a slow brooding monster of a track. Readman comes across with a Graham Bonnet-esque bite to his voice that sits perfectly with the mood of the song. The verse features some strong guitar riffing, overlain by Andersen’s atmospheric keyboards, which leads into a dramatic multi-layered vocal chorus. Very, very impressive.

Highlights come thick and fast throughout, with songs strong on melody, having huge hook laden, multi-layered harmony vocals. In fact, melody is the main feature of this collection, regardless if they are fast-paced, double bass drum-driven rockers such as “Tell Me Your Lies,” or the almost Funky powerhouse of “Scared To Live,” or the mid-tempo “End of My Rope,” the melody meter is turned up to 11. The almost Magnum-like “Don’t Need A Thing” will stick in your mind long after the disc has stopped spinning. Just when you think you’ve been caught by the main hook, you get reeled in and seized by the next one just round the corner.

Only the track “Bulletproof” doesn’t quite hit the mark, coming across a little too close to Deep Purple’s “Stormbringer” for comfort, but 9 out of 10 isn’t such a bad ratio for great songs on an album, is it?

Sound and style-wise, you can tell straight away that Andersen is heavily involved in the writing and producing of III. Things may be slightly harder and less ostentatious than Royal Hunt, but those telltale melodies and harmony vocals are still dominant in each song, as Andersen’s influence is stamped heavily through each composition. This album is a shining example of the genre, with a writer at the top of his game, and is an album that should be snapped up by fans of Royal Hunt, Danger Danger, and Pink Cream 69 — and by lovers of hard-edged Melodic Rock in general.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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