Royal Hunt

The Mission

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Royal Hunt matches their prog metal chops with a concept on The Mission, an album that is lyrically based on Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. While the idea of a metal concept album seems hopelessly dated (Queensryche's 1987 masterpiece Operation: Mindcrime remains the unchallenged benchmark), what's worse is that Royal Hunt's sound has barely evolved beyond the late '70s. At best, The Mission approaches Dream Theater's neo-prog elegance; at worst, it recalls Styx's Kilroy Was Here. It's loaded with dazzling instrumental forays, quasi-classical pretensions, and towering, arena-sized vocal harmonies that owe as much to Steve Perry as to Geoff Tate. As for the lyrics, suffice it to say that Bradbury's book is probably best left alone.

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