Royal Hunt are back with a new release, almost two years after “Cast in Stone”. The line-up has remained the same and the album features some significant guest appearances such as: Mats Leven (ex-Candlemass, TSO, Skyblood) on “The Art of Dying” & “Snake Eyes”, Mark Boals (Y.J. Malmsteen, Ring of Fire) on “I Used to Walk Alone” & “Snake Eyes”, Henrik Brockman (ex-Royal Hunt, Evil Masquerade, N’Tribe) on “Hound of the Damned” & “Snake Eyes”, Kenny Lubcke (Narita, Zoser Mez) on “Hound of the Damned” & “Snake Eyes” and Alexandra Andersen (Royal Hunt, JSP) on “I Used to Walk Alone”.
Once again, the leading duo, André Andersen and D.C. Cooper, are delivering the goods, showing that they are correctly regarded as one of the best duos in prog (symphonic) metal genre at large. Royal Hunt are following the prog metal path they have paved all these years, with lots of symphonic elements embellished with great melodies. The production is full and clear, as one should expect of an album like this.
The album features 3 instrumentals, “Inception F451”, “The Missing Page (Intermission I)” and “Midway (Intermission II)”, which all are wonderful, even though they are somewhat short… for instance, I’d like to listen to a lengthier version of the last track in specific. Nevertheless, André is a master of his kind, so he knows better. As for D.C., he has that distinctive colorful voice that makes anything he sings greater in a very unique way… at this point I have to say that I relished the songs he’s singing more than the others, without showing any disrespect to the other vocalists whatsoever. I strongly believe that “Black Butterflies” is the new hymn of the band… a song that will be amongst the fans’ favorites on every band’s gig in the future. Royal Hunt are one of the top names on their genre and they prove that they are totally worth it with every new release and “Dystopia” is not exception to that! I kinda think that their old and new fans will revel in the band’s new songs come what may.