Royal Hunt — Paper Blood
(Magna Carta PR-512, 2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01André Andersen’s goal to make the definitive progressive metal statement comes closer to fruition with his band’s newest undertaking of ten pieces and two bonus tracks. The quintet’s over-the-top presentation of high drama and hard rock elements mesh the best metal moments of Whitesnake with pounding rhythmic foundation and some great keyboard flash. Vocalist John West is at his best delivering prophetic imagery as on the second song, “Not My Kind.” Anderson’s arrangements and competent synthesizer playing are best compared to the likes of Don Airey (ex-Rainbow and now in Deep Purple). His symphonic and nimble style reinforces rather than chokes high-energy workouts such as the CD’s opener, “Break Your Chains.” The lush opening to “Memory Lane” showcases Anderson’s semi-classical influences best; it’s a bit of digital pomp surrounded by unison guitar riffs evoking highlander epic symbology. Best tracks on the disc include “Seven Days” and “Twice around the World.” The former piece is characterized by a consistent eighth note organ phrase that serves as a fitting counterbalance to Marcus Jidell’s tube effects guitar parts and swelling vocal harmonies. The latter piece is another well-conceived slice of Gothic proportions offset by a piano and drums interlude that works well. The two bonus tracks also fit well into the mix too with “Edge of the World” capturing a similar feel to Deep Purple’s 90s reunion era songs. Overall Andersen’s European success has eluded US audiences but with consistently solid recordings such as this it will change in due time.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more