Royal Hunt Devils' Dozen

When you have a band like Royal Hunt who have a 25 year career it amazes me when after a long history of personnel changes and Devil's Dozen being their 13th album that when you press play on the cd player that such a vibrant fresh sound comes flooding out. 

Devil's Dozen is the band's third since the the return of DC Cooper on vocals' in 2011 and for any fan of the band this will be welcomed like a favourite son.

There is nothing new on offer here but when you hear every composition with most in the 6 to 7 minute length all with the band's trademark symphonic melodic style with Cooper on fine form and band main man Andre Andersson's keyboard and synth orchestration as always a focal point then this is heaven.

With able backing from Andreas Passmark on bass and the heavy riffing and fast fingered guitar solo's of Jonas Larsen,Devil's Dozen could be a greatest hits album with each song a veritable smorgasbord of delights.

So Right So Wrong is classic Royal Hunt with Andersson's orchestration at full pelt right off the bat with percussive backing before a huge guitar and keys maelstrom with pounding bass and drums and that is before Cooper even starts and he shows off his full vocal range and melody  as the song builds to a huge chorus with big backing vocal to give the song even more depth.Larsen's guitar isn't all flash but has a melodic undertow to it and great interplay with Andersson towards the end of the solo.

May You (Never Walk Alone) starts with a heartfelt Cooper vocal over keys before a bombastic drum barrage and interwoven keys and guitar riff kicks in.After a minute or so the band take another back seat as Cooper leads the band before it builds to a dynamic chorus that sees the whole band at full pelt in a song bound to be a live favourite.Larsen's guitar solo keeps the tempo high before Andersson treats us to a keys interlude and then back to Larsen as the tempo increases again.

Heart On A Platter starts on a big drum pattern and bobbing bass before Andersson injects a keys riff before it turns left field to another huge rocker with guitar and keys interplay in the main riff.A big chorus and more backing vocal's work alongside a big key riff.Mid song orchestration dips to a let the guitar riff and solo take centre stage which it does with aplomb.

A Tear In The Rain sees Andersson's orchestration take hold with the guitar riff held back to let keyboard swathes be the heart of the song.Love the way as it builds to the chorus the keys again become more prominent and all with a massive drum pattern driving the song along at pace.Larsen again shines with a very melodic guitar solo that shows he knows when to kick back and when to accelerate.

Until The Day is the cd's ballad with Cooper able to show his full vocal range with Andersson's orchestration and dynamic sense of style more than evident.A perfect slower lengthy guitar solo from Larsen again impresses and fit's the mood of the song to a tee.

Riches To Rags beginning sees flute alongside Celtic influences and a percussive masterclass which continues as the main guitar riff kicks in.Some light and shade in the first verse with big backing vocals which continue into the chorus.Maybe the biggest chorus on the album and that is saying something.

Way Too Late sees Andersson's orchestrated keys battling Larsen's guitar riff in the intro before a band workout that lead's Cooper back in and another corker of a chorus with massive backing vocal's to the fore.

Bonus track How Do You Know sees a jabbing keys riff and a slightly different tone to Cooper's vocal and more big backing vocals pre chorus and in the chorus melody too.Larsen's guitar solo sits in the light and shade centre song and again a different feel to it.

Devil's Dozen sees a band comfortable in their own skin and continuing to produce top quality music that every fan of the band should pick up from the 21st of August when it is released by Frontiers Records Srl.

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