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Under Rated - 95%

ALF, July 9th, 2003

The “Mission” is a concept album based on Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. It's not necessary to have read the novel or to follow the story line of this album to enjoy it. Although at the very least understanding the story does give the music a greater emotional resonance especially on songs that close the CD such as “Days of No Trust” and “Total Recall”.
This CD is very much in the progmetal category. The keyboards are very prominent and played with mastery by Andre Anderson. He makes good use of the keyboards from them being nice and melodic such as in “Judgment Day” to straight out aggressive as in “World Wide War”. The opening to “World Wide War” Anderson plays wonderful classical influence interlude called “Metamorphosis” that is breathtakingly beautiful.
John West’s vocals are simply amazing. The man has great range and power as displayed by the shrieks near the end on “World Wide War”. He also does a terrific job on the slower more emotional songs such as on “Days of No Trust”. Where you can here sadness and melancholy in his vocals that melds perfectly with the lyrics.
Jacob Kjaer on guitar is a perfect compliment to the keyboards. He can rip off riff after furious riff. He can also play remarkably well in harmony with the keyboards as he does in“Surrender”. He is very versatile and has an excellent mastery of technique. He notably shines on “World Wide War” with its heavy riff and on the intro “DreamLine” that leads to the start of “Out Of Reach”. He’s guitar playing on this CD is the reason that this his the heaviest Royal Hunt Cd.
As mentioned earlier “The Mission” is a concept album and as such you have the main songs that advance the story short interludes that serve as links from one song to another. Out of the 13 songs 6 of these are interludes. They range in length from 1:05 to 2:34 but don’t let their brevity fool you there are some very fine moments in them. My two favourites I mentioned already are the beautiful “Metamorphosis” and the guitar oriented “DreamLine”.
This will sound like a cliché and I have used it before but there is not one bad song on this CD. My favorites include the straight-ahead rocker “The Mission”, the intense “World Wide War” and the brilliant vocal lines of “Surrender”.
The Mission is arguably the best Royal Hunt album. Most Royal Hunt fans would give the nod to Paradox but not me. The song writing and performances are top notch .In short this is an essential addition to any fan of progressive metal.