ROYAL HUNT – Clown In The Mirror [25 anniversary remastered reissue] (2018)

BLACK ACES - Shot In The Dark [European CD version +3] (2016) full

Alongside their debut CD remastered / reissued and featured here, ROYAL HUNT sophomore album “Clown in the Mirror” turns 25 yeas in 2018, and it has just been reissued / remastered as well by keyboardist André Andersen.

While Royal Hunt are best known for their albums with vocalist D.C. Cooper, the Danish combo had two full-length releases prior to Cooper’s arrival. Before they shipped out for the glitzy American singer, Royal Hunt were an all-Danish outfit, including original vocalist Henrik Brockmann.
Royal Hunt begin to come fully into their own on “Clown In The Mirror”. This second album departs from the heavily hook laden debut ‘Land Of Broken Hearts’ largely because there’s variety. The band’s progressive elements are in full glare and guitars, bass and drums are accommodated comfortably and given ample spotlight now.

On songs like “Intro / Wasted Time” and “On The Run” you can hear the change. There’s several guitar riffs interspersed carefully into the keyboard melodies and they all maintain their heaviness with the bass pummeling along in tandem and the drums given presence.
“Ten To Life” sounds like a Queen ‘heavy’ song with its nicely layered guitar vocal harmonies. For that matter so does the title track, “Clown In The Mirror”, a somber ballad whose bluesiness is undermined by the rather happy sounding melodies. Both score high marks for their fat layers of sound.

The other numbers of note are “Bodyguard” which besides being really catchy and fun to sing along to, is also armed with one of the funkiest bass lines ever conjured in Royal Hunt. The guitar solo plays like a breath of fresh air after all the excitement. It is not rushed but neither does it wander aimlessly. It plays and goes leading us back to Henrick Brockmann’s rousing vocal performance.

“Legion Of The Damned” has well penned lyrics and Brockmann’s delivery simply inspires awe. The song also contains some grim guitar riffing which is unfortunately obscured to a minimal extent by the synthetic atmospherics. However when the solo kicks in, guitarist Jacob Kjaer utterly lets loose riding on scalar runs supported by principle songwriter André Andersen’s keyboards, the both of them employing intricate harmonic phrases and milking emotion of a somber quality from them.

“Bad Blood” is simple and sheer hard rocking fun, immediately likable via its catchy chorus. Royal Hunt thrive with songs such as this. Not too intricate but not dumbed down either.
“Epilogue” closes things out and would be a great stage song. Theatrical flowery melodies clash dramatically with chugging guitar and bass riffs and Kenneth Olsen’s sometimes steady, sometimes odd n’ insane pounding. The whole thing skids to a halt giving way to sorrowful piano and sounds Brockmann eerily singing like the ghost of Freddie Mercury.

ROYAL HUNT - Clown In The Mirror [25 anniversary remastered reissue] (2018) inside

Whereas the band would be more firmly established with the arrival of D.C Cooper, “Clown In The Mirror” serve their purpose as preamble well enough. They aren’t landmark by any stretch but they “pave the way” and build up anticipation for you get the feeling that the Hunt is just getting started.
“Clown In The Mirror” wasn’t graced with anywhere near the sort of big budget production of the band’s following releases, so this remastering is more than welcomed, resulting more punchy and clear.
Highly Recommended

You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox

01 – Intro
02 – Wasted Time
03 – Ten To Life
04 – On The Run
05 – Clown In The Mirror
06 – Third Stage
07 – Bodyguard
08 – Legion Of The Damned
09 – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
10 – Bad Blood
11 – Epilogue

André Andersen – keyboards, rhythm guitar
Henrik Brockmann – lead and backing vocals
Steen Mogensen – bass
Jacob Kjaer – lead guitar
Kenneth Olsen – drums
Maria McTurk, Lise Hansen – backing vocals


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