Published on June 14th, 2017 | by Justin G.
Royal Hunt: 2016 (Frontiers)
Oh hey, Royal Hunt live album. Haven’t seen one of those since…last year. All right, I get why they’d want to do a 2016 live set to continue the tradition of releasing live videos every ten years (see 1996 and 2006), but if that was the intent, why did they bother with last year’s disappointing Cargo? Whatever the rationale, it’s Royal Hunt and D.C. Cooper is singing, so I can’t help but check it out.
2016 features a baker’s dozen (more if you break out the medleys) of live recordings from Moscow last year. The band serves up a good mix of material from their recent albums as well as staples from the Moving Target/Paradox era, and they sound pretty fantastic. The band is super-tight (especially, and not surprisingly, Andre Anderssen’s keyboards), Cooper sounds incredible and does a great job working the crowd, and that crowd seems really excited to be part of the show. I could quibble about the setlist or wish for a few more songs, but really there’s just too much to love about this set to nitpick. Of course, I’ve only heard the audio so far, so I can’t comment on how the visuals are. The label says it was shot in HD, so that’s a plus.
Having yet another Royal Hunt live release (this is number five for the band), especially just one year after the last one, still seems excessive, but in the end 2016 is too well-executed to resist. It’s a great example of Royal Hunt’s live energy, and something any serous Royal Hunt fan will want to own.
Version Notes: 2016 is available in a couple of different formats. There’s a single-disc Blu-ray release, which would take the most advantage of the HD cameras. There’s also a 3-disc set with a DVD and two audio CDs. I’ll probably spring for the Blu-ray myself, but the 3-disc version seems like the best value.
Summary: It might not be necessary, but the band sounds great here.