Royal Hunt - 'A Life To Die For'


Andre Andersen - Keyboards
DC Cooper – Lead Vocals
Allan Sorensen –Drums
Andreas Passmark– Bass Guitar
Jonas Larsen – Lead Guitars

1.) "Hell Comes Down From Heaven" - This track opens with the ambient noise of a coyote howling.  Slowly fading in Andre plays a heavily Mike Oldsfield (The writer of the keyboard riff from movie The Exorcist) sounding keyboard arrangement.  Underneath the keyboard arrangement, Allan plays a fill on his floor toms using drum mallets instead of drumsticks.  As the keyboard progresses there is a orchestrated musical section over the top of the arrangement.  Underneath the fourth orchestrated arrangement Allan begins playing a snare drum and tom-tom pattern.  As this intro progresses it gets more and more intense as the band adds more and more instruments.  About two minutes into the intro there was a minor lead guitar solo.  Because of all the instruments the intro has one could believe the band hired an entire orchestra just for the intro alone.  For the musical pre- verse the band changed some of the arrangements while keeping others.  DC's vocals gave the verse a melodic feel.  There was a huge tom-tom pattern and minor solo connecting the musical pre -verse with the musical verse.  DC's vocals gave the choruses a very nice hook.  After the first chorus the band once again change some of the instrument arrangements.  There was a minor solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  Some of the notes of the solo are the same notes as some of the lyric lines of the verses.  There was a small breakdown section connecting the second verse with the second chorus.  After the second chorus, there was a minor lead guitar solo that ran over the top of the coda. 
 2.) "A Bullet’s Tale" - The intro to this section opens with a string arrangement.  For the opening verse, the band kept the same string arrangement as the intro.  The added a second string arrangement to fill-in the musical rests of the first string arrangement.  This gave the musical verse a more full sound.  A woman sang the first verse.  Her vocals fit perfectly with the underling string arrangement.  It sounded like she double-tracked the last four lyric lines.  After this first verse is where the band kick the song-in.  There is a huge tom-tom pattern underneath DC's vocal lines of the second verse.   This song has an amazing powerful sound!!!!! 
3.) "Running Out of Tears" -This intro opens with a strange little keyboard effect.  As the intro progresses Andre adds a second keyboard riff.  Underneath this second keyboard riff Allan plays a syncopated sixteenth-note hi-hat and snare crack.  As the intro progresses the band incorporate a string arrangement.  There is a short tom-tom fill that leads to a secondary intro arrangement.  The band basically used the same arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  D's vocal have a huge melodic feel to them.  There was an arrangement change for the chorus.  DC's vocals gave the chorus a very nice hook.  After the second chorus there was a drastic musical change where the band slowed the music down.  This musical change lead to the lead guitar solo.   There was a female backing vocal over the top of the coda.      
4.) "One Minute Left to Live" - The drum line of this intro made the intro.  As the intro progresses the song builds-up in speed causing the arrangement to have a very intense sound.  There is a short keyboard effect connecting the musical intro with the musical verse.  It sounded like DC double-tracked his vocals for the lyric lines of the pre-verse.  There was an arrangement change for the musical verse.  The chorus had a simple yet huge hook attached to it.  There was a very intense lead guitar solo after the second chorus.  This was my favorite song on the release!    
5.) "Sign of Yesterday" - This song shows you why the band has been around for so long.  It's just amazing!
6.) "Won’t Trust, Won’t Fear, Won’t Beg" -For me and it's just my opinion however, I did not feel like the lyric line were an exact fit to the music arrangement.
 7.) "A Life to Die For" -The sound Jonas used for his guitar riffs of this intro gave them a classic eighties hard feel.  As the intro progresses Alan begins playing different tom-tom fills.  The band used the same rhythm guitar riff for the main body of the intro arrangement.  There was a small musical rest connecting the intro with the musical verse.  The band used the same rhythm guitar riff for the verse as he one for the intro.  The choruses of this song were huge.  I take back what I said earlier, this is my favorite song on the release!!!  This song was very well structured and well written!!!   

     Danish keyboardist Andre Anderson formed Royal Hunt in 1989.  Though the band has always been known for their progressive and symphonic music with a melodic flair.  It was not until Andre hired American vocalist DC Cooper, who had thrust himself upon the international spotlight after being of the finalist to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest did Royal Hunt really begin to gain success.  This is DC Cooper's second stint as frontman for the band.
     'A Life To Die For' is the twelve release from Royal Hunt.  The press release that came with the promo copy stated that this is not a concept CD lyrically however musically.  This forced the band to the far reaches of their musical knowledge which employed a large number of classical and orchestra players along with a choir.  Though there is not a bad song on the CD there are times when the lyric lines have a hard time fitting with the musical arrangements. 
     If you want to listen to an amazingly well written musical release then you should check 'A Life To Die For' out.