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Anniversary of the Hunt - 80%

MetalGuard, January 12th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Limb Music

Hard to believe the Austrian sextet of Dragony has been around for ten years already. Ok, so for about four years of that period, they were actually called "The Dragonslayer Project", but changed that clunky name to the shorter (and arguably catchier and arguably deliberately cheesier) "Dragony" in 2011, when they also self-released their debut "Legends", which was later picked up by German label Limb Music and published worldwide in 2012.

So in 2017, the band is not only celebrating ten years of existence, but also five years since the release of said debut album. Reason enough, apparently, to drop an anniversary EP, as many a band is wont to do. Thankfully, Dragony don't rely (just) on older material to put on their anniversary EP to create sort of a "best of" album, but they instead recorded two brand new songs, as well as re-recorded two favorites from their debut album. The EP is then completed by bonus material like the Japanese bonus track "Sparta" from the debut album, and the curious cover of "The One and Only", originally performed by Chesney Hawkes in the early nineties. And finally, the band also packed two videos for "Burning Skies" (from the debut) and "True Survivor", another cover of the "Kung Fury" title song, originally performed by none other than David Hasselhoff. Yes, you read that right. Ironically, this is also the band's most viewed video on YouTube, with over 100.000 views at the time of this review.

It's a quite curious release, but at least the two new songs deliver what fans can expect from the band: Catchy choruses, lots of melodies and a solid production. The title track "Lords of the Hunt" has Sabaton written all over it with its stomping choruses and big choirs, but still has its own touch with the "Bloodborne" video game reference in its theme. "Call of the Wild" is a nice uptempo song that reminds a bit of Nightwish in the chorus, but stands fine on its down. Also, the two re-recordings of the "Legends" classics show that the band has made considerable progress since their debut, both in production and performance.

The bonus material, obviously, is what it is: just a "bonus". The bonus tracks are entertaining enough, the Karaoke version of "Shadowrunners" might not have been entirely necessary, but the two videos are definitely a nice icing on the cake.

All in all, "Lords of the Hunt" can be a nice entry to the band for people who haven't heard of them before, as it provides a decent overview over their back catalogue at a single glance. I would, however, recommend the previous full-length album "Shadowplay", as it is just the more "complete" record. But for a lower priced EP, this compilation definitely offers value for money, and it's clear that the band put in a lot more effort than other groups do in their comparable EP- or best-of-releases.