Show Me How To Live

"When the masses in a movement clamor for a reunion, it’s only a matter of time (or economics) before such reunifications occur. Danish progressive metal band Royal Hunt may have started with Henrik Brockmann on vocals, but his replacement DC Cooper brought the band to international acclaim in the mid-90’s with such premier releases as Moving Target and especially 1997’s Paradox.

Following DC’s departure in 1998 for a solo career and the melodic power act Silent Force, keyboardist Andre Andersen found more than capable singers to helm the band with John West and Mark Boals during the past decade, but 13 years later, Cooper returns on this 11th studio platter, Show Me How to Live. Latest acquisition Jonas Larsen on guitar (coming into the fold this year) gains parallel responsibility with Andre for driving much of the Royal Hunt riff train, spitting out some 70’s-like Blackmore licks against his neo-classical/symphonic keyboard landscape on standout tracks such as the majestic “An Empty Shell” and relatively up tempo “Half Past Loneliness."

The quintet feature the 10 minute-plus title track near the second half of the album, a sweeping epic ballad that showcases all phases of the DC Cooper melodic power range such as note sustaining movements, tender restraint in many verses, and his multi-part harmonies during the chorus with longtime luminaries Kenny Lubcke and Maria McTurk proving background assistance.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, the seven songs on Show Me How to Live clock in at a tidy 43 minutes, giving the listener adequate time to digest the material without feeling information overload. Whatever personal differences may have happened appear to be water on the bridge, as DC and Andre seem to know each other’s strengths and make for some memorable progressive metal that’s potent without going overboard on the technical virtuoso side of things.

All corners of the globe will want this, especially the longtime Royal Hunt followers." - Blistering.com

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  • "Since a long time I have stored in one of the synapses in the very deep part of my brain some information about a small country named Andorra somewhere in Europe. By its name I would assume that it would be close to Spain if I ever need to recall that information for further processing. In 2011 that information surfaced back into my brain when I found out (thanks to my dear friend Vagelis) that not only it exists but it a band from that country kicks serious ass. That was the time that I found about NAMI. Upon further inspection and research I found that while NAMI was at their first album there was another band that had already released three albums and they were also into kicking arse. That band is PERSEFONE. Two years later and back into present I was really excited to hold the promo for their brand new release “Spiritual Migration” and indeed the only two words that came out of my mouth from the first notes were “Fuck” and “Yeah” with lots of exclamation marks.“Spiritual Migration” is the fourth progressive death metal album follower of the “Shin-Ken”, a conceptual story that unfolds in 13 tracks. The album starts with the instrumental “Flying Sea Dragons” creating an epic tone before the first blast of highly concentrated progressiveness strikes with “Mind As Universe”. Riffs high as the sky, terrific solos, crazy drumming, kick arse bass, raging and beautiful clean vocals and on top of all keyboards that dress and bind everything into one solid entity. Nothing gets into standard forms but instead the band is insanely unpredictable changing tempos, styles, brutality and whatever else you name with amazing ease making each part flow into the next one effortlessly and naturally. The duration of the compositions is varying, having four out of them clocking over seven minutes (“The Majestic of Gaia”, “Inner Fullness”, “Spiritual Migration” and “Returning To The Source”). There are also four instrumental tracks that are very beautiful and add to the overall atmosphere of the record.PERSEFONE continue to evolve the sound that has defined in “Snin-Ken”. They continue based on the soul recipe of progressive and very technical Death Metal that is fused with atmospheric parts that enhance the overall outcome of the record. This time the lyrics deal with Buddhism, meditation and spirituality and it is really cool to see bands that deviate from the classical hate god / praise Satan stereotype (sic). The songs are heavier than before and the brutal vocals tend to be a bit deeper than those of the previous records. Concerning the performance of the band all the band members are delivering astonishing performances using the best of their instruments. The brutal vocals might estrange some (I quickly got used to them) but they serve their purpose more than well while the clean ones contradict perfectly with them and offer moments of tranquility amongst the Death Metal onslaught. The artwork has been done by none other than Travis Smith and is another great work by him. Finally the record was mixed by Jacob Hansen in Denmark who also has worked with VOLBEAT, PESTILENCE and DESTRUCTION.It is surprising, in a good way, that Andorra has very cool bands which deliver very good records. PERSEFONE being one of those bands, has delivered an amazing record that is full of complex structures, unpredictable riffing, epic atmospheres and sheer raw brutality and a very intelligent concept. Put the speakers on, sit down comfortably, close your eyes, open your mind and get ready for “Spiritual Migration”." - Metal Temple
    $13.00
  • Third album from this fine Polish prog band finds them stepping up their game even further. Believe is led by former Collage/Satellite guitarist Mirek Gil. Those bands had a decidedly symphonic sound, but with Believe a more modern sound is achieved, moving the band more in the direction of bands like Riverside. One of the key elements of the band is the use of violin and flute, adding a classical dimension and a nice counterpoint to Gil's Gilmour-esque guitar lines. Oh yeah - there is a new vocalist in place. His name is Karol Wróblewski and he's great. His expressiveness reminds me a bit of Mariusz Duda. This is the limited edition digipak that comes with one bonus track. How limited? I don't know but experience with Metal Mind tells me that eventually it will be gone....
    $15.00
  • Riverside is a way of expressing reflections, dreams and fantasies through music. It is an idea for exposing emotions, for an escape from the grey or unnaturally overcoloured reality. It is music inspired by a time, a place, a thought and a word, a figment of their own and other people's imagination. It is joy and sadness, a whisper and a scream. This young Polish band has created an emotional musical journey through dark and moody atmospheres that find kindred spirits in Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Anathema, and Pink Floyd. With a sound that encompasses prog, psychedelia, metal and even alternative rock, Riverside is poised to break through to a wider audience. The gorgeous full color booklet, designed by award winning digital artist/graphic designer Travis Smith is the visual counterpart to Riverside's music, perfectly capturing the mystical spirit of "Out Of Myself". Riverside has been invited to perform at NEARfest 2005. They will be the opening band on the 2nd day of the festival.
    $14.00
  • Interesting story behind this disc. This is a German band from the early 90s led by guitarist Henning Pauly. The album was started in 1994 and never finshed. In the interim Pauly moved to the US and studied at Berklee. He drafted American born singer Matt Cash and finally finished the album in 2002."Reconstruct" is a conceptual work dealing with evolution. The music is a blending of progressive rock and progressive metal. There is a futuristic cyber-metal feel that reminds me of Anguish and also lighter bands like Andeavor. The instrumentals that link the songs are a bit spacey and add to the effect. Definitely fans of Dream Theater and Rush would have a fun time chipping away at this one. Recommended.
    $3.00
  • 2006 Remastered Edition"Rage is the kind of band people love comparing to other bands. It’s almost as if they need some kind of validation. You’d think that over three decades and over twenty albums later, you could finally say this is a band that has arrived. But nope. When the subject comes up, it’s always Rage and Motorhead. Or Rage and Metal Church. Or Rage and Judas Priest etc etc.Part of the problem Rage has of course is that a) they’ve been around so long – and b) they have a set formula. Helloween have also been around years and years – but their growth and development has been monumental. Read any one of my reviews of their stuff to get the picture. But with Rage, it’s the formula that gets them in the end. Too much stuff sounds either too similar or too stock standard. Hence the oft quoted Motorhead comparison. Let it be said though, Rage actually write songs. Motorhead just turn up and record something. Again.I’m not going to pretend I know the whole Rage catalogue. It’s huge. But this album might very well be the very best introduction to the band. The year was 1995 and grunge was enjoying its 15 smelly minutes of fame. Metal was not only out – it was down and out. Peavey Wagner and co. responded to the crisis by booking some studio time and recording 14 slaps in the face of everything I just wrote in the two sentences above. Here’s proof.Tracks like “Crawling Chaos” and “Sent By The Devil” are part anthem and part hookfest. Each delivers riffs and choruses calculated to ensure you either stop whatever your doing – or start doing it a hell of a lot faster. We’re taking metal made intense and sharp and be careful not to cut yourself. The first 15 seconds of “Sent By The Devil” is a mini-symphony in all but name. While Manowar were out getting measured up for their new cod pieces, Rage were arming themselves for an all too real battle with this little baby.“Shadow Out Of Time” is something different again with an explosive shred driven opening that leads into terrifyingly catchy verses that build and build until the chorus delivers the kind of meltdown moment that only instant classics can. It’s the best song on the album and may be one of the best things you’ll ever hear from this band.Songs like “Forever” and “The Price Of War” wear their heart on their sleeve with a song title that says it all. But both keep the deep and dark emotional momentum coming as the album intercuts between straight up traditional metal leanings and more melodic power metal flourishes.On the whole though – it’s the production that gives this album (and band) its sound here. I wouldn’t call it under produced, but then again I wouldn’t call it polished. The idea seems to be raw, but not noisy. Maybe I’m exaggerating. But I am haunted by the fact that at least half the songs on this album sound suspiciously demo like. A brilliant and truly epic demo that is.But I can’t walk away without saying a short something about one more song. It’s called “All This Time”. Once again we’re talking heart on the sleeve stuff. This time we’re in ballad land and long lost love territory. Frankly, you won’t see this one coming. From the haunting acoustic intro to the sometime clumsy (but unbelievably moving) lyrics to the tidal wave of a chorus, Rage manage to carve out a love song that transcends the album, the band – and in 1995 at least – an entire genre. So next time you compare them to Motorhead, look long and hard at the Lemmy back catalogue first. You won’t make the same mistake twice." - Metal Archives
    $11.00
  • THIS NORTHERN VIRGINIA BASED BAND is a three-piece at heart, musically rooted in the raw energy and rhythmic interplay of RUSH and KING’S X. Fans of dark, guitar-driven rock bands from ALICE IN CHAINS, DEFTONES to the contemporary metal riffing of LAMB OF GOD and PANTERA, will connect to the heavy core of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. Add to that progressive complexity and moody synths inspired by DREAM THEATER and PORCUPINE TREE, and a liberal dose of memorable hooks and melodies, to understand some elements of IRIS DIVINE’s sound. And yet, the band has a distinct identity, not quite sounding like any of the aforementioned bands, and with an emotional urgency that pulls subtly from alternative and other influences.KARMA SOWN IS A TRIUMPH OF A DEBUT ALBUM, immediate and memorable but revealing layers and depth upon repeated listens."Progressive metal is in a rough period right now. The old guard are either releasing sub-standard albums that only make it more obvious how far they have fallen, or they are drastically uncool with anyone who didn't become a fan when progressive metal was first being created. Progressive today tends to mean djent, a style that has sapped all the life and humanity out of music, turning metal into a math equation of time signatures, and not songs that anyone can actually remember. There was a time when progressive metal remembered the ultimate goal of music; to have listeners enjoy the songs so much they would return to them again and again. Today, progressive metal is mostly the sort of music that could pass for muzak, if you don't turn the volume up too loud.Iris Divine wants to change that. They set out with the mission of writing progressive metal that is intricate and challenging, but still produces the kind of songs that listeners who don't have an advanced degree can love and sing along to. It's a challenge, and it goes against the tide, but it's a desperately needed revolution if progressive metal is going to flourish anytime in the near future.I knew from hearing the pre-release track “A Suicide Aware” that Iris Divide was special, and the full album reinforces the point. “The Everlasting Sea” comes out of the gates with plenty of tricky riffing and unusual rhythms, but they lead into big melodies with strong hooks and vocals. Their progressive playing isn't meant for show, it's a tool used to set a tone that juxtaposes with the more melodic moments. Finding the proper balance between these elements is not easy, and many a band have failed miserably trying to do so, but Iris Divine doesn't. On their debut record, they show a skill some bands have spent their entire careers failing to learn.What I love most about the record is that it can be seen in many different lights. If you like straight-ahead metal, there is plenty of heavy riffing and pounding drumming here to keep you satisfied. If you like progressive music, these songs have twists and turns, and Rush-like keyboards, in enough quantity to match the djent crowd. And if you're a fan of old-school radio rock, the choruses in these songs will be music to your ears. Keeping all three of these in mind at the same time can be tricky, but it's worth the effort.For being a trio, “Karma Sown” is a massive sounding record. The production is flawless, big and clear, without ever sounding too polished. The heavy parts are heavy, the vocals are up front, and you would never believe this was a self-produced record that was crowd-funded. I can put it up against many, many of the big label releases, and it would win the fight.In fact, I can think of a dozen so-called progressive metal bands that should immediately hand over their label contracts to Iris Divine, because it's a crime that a band that is advancing progressive metal in the right direction doesn't have the backing of one of the labels. Not to name names, but this album would be bigger than half of the progressive metal released this year if it had the media push behind it.In case you haven't noticed, what I'm saying is that “Karma Sown” is a fantastic debut, and the future of progressive metal. Iris Divine isn't a Dream Theater clone, and they're not djent. What they have done is integrate all the strains of progressive metal into a singular sound, one that could set the standard moving forward. If every band sounded this good, progressive metal wouldn't need to be underground. “Karma Sown” is the best progressive metal album of the year, bar none." - Bloody Good Horror
    $13.00
  • Second studio album from what may be the ultimate chops band.  Guthrie Govan (guitars), Bryan Beller (bass), and Marco Minnemann (drums) turn it up an notch further.  Everything is set to 11 on this one. Lots of notes flying around and different styles as well - on "Louisville Stomp: I'm hearing some cool country style pickin' from Guthrie Govan that is welcome and unexpected.  He sounds like the second coming of Danny Gatton.  Other tracks are a non-stop shredfest - that's what the Aristocrats are all about.  Highly recommended.
    $15.00
  • "Retribution” is the new album from Sweden’s Nightingale, the intended one-off project that refuses to die. Established by musical multi-talent Dan Swanö almost 20 years ago, the band is proof that good music can take on a life of its own, often when the artist least expects it.Known for his work both as a producer/engineer and with metal acts Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath, Pan-Thy-Monium and most recently Witherscape, Swanö began his unplanned Nightingale journey in 1995 with “The Breathing Shadow”. It was a one-off goth-flavoured solo album heavily reminiscent of The Sisters Of Mercy, meant to satisfy his interest in the genre and then be put quietly to bed as Swanö moved on to other projects. The album was successful enough to warrant a follow-up according to his label at the time (Black Mark), but Swanö was, as he puts it "so over the goth thing.""I thought that if I was going to make a second record it had to reflect what I was listening to at the moment. I was going through a big revival of Gamma, Foreigner, Journey and all that super melodic AOR pomp rock stuff. It was a weird turn from the first record, so I decided to make Nightingale a home for music that I write in the moment, no matter what it is."Nightingale released five more albums between '96 and '07, slowly establishing a band line-up that began with Swanö's guitarist/keyboardist brother Dag in 1996 acting as a co-producer and session player on “The Closing Chronicles”. He officially came aboard in 1998 under his Tom Nouga moniker. The band was fleshed out by bassist Erik Oskarsson and drummer Tom Björn, who had their first rehearsal with the Swanö brothers on Christmas Day 2000. “White Darkness” from 2007 could well have been the last Nightingale album, as it featured very little songwriting input from Swanö due to severe writer's block. He decided to focus on his career as an engineer and chose to make music as a hobby. His creative side won eventually, however, as the urge to write and play again became irresistible."I bought a few instruments that would inspire me, and eventually the riffs started piling up," Swanö recalls. "I was collecting them for some kind of death metal release, and the other stuff that came out ended up being what could be used for a future Nightingale record."Originally titled “Bravado” in the working stages, “Retribution” offers up 10 songs steeped in uncomplicated '70s and early '80s-flavoured rock. Tracks such as 'Chasing The Storm Away', 'Forevermore' and 'The Maze' could have easily found a home on commercial rock radio 30 years ago, yet the album is completely relevant in 2014. Fans of Swanö's heavier works that are unfamiliar with Nightingale may be surprised the simplicity of the music and the band's non-aggressive approach."It's not easy to write simple stuff that's good," Swanö points out, suggesting people take a good long listen to “Retribution” rather than dismissing it.In Swanö's estimation “Retribution” succeeds because the songs "just kind of happened." He never set out to write any specific parts; the music is in fact a result of spontaneous moments, whether it was an accidental combination of notes on a keyboard that became an opening riff ('On Stolen Wings') or an odd guitar tuning ('Warriors Of The Dawn'). On top of that, the songs were hashed out in the rehearsal room before the band went into the studio, resulting in major changes to some of the music as it developed."When I listen to the record I don't want to have any regrets," explains Swanö. "There's no point in releasing a new Nightingale record if I don't think it's the best we ever did. That a pretty high standard to have, but if I don't feel that way when I listen to it the moment it's ready, it's got nothing to do with our back catalogue. That's the way I've felt with every record."Asked to sum up what “Retribution” means to him with regards to Nightingale's legacy, Swanö offers the following: "Classic rock with that pomp attitude really inspired me. I just wanted a good production that could hold up well against a band like Alter Bridge but still have a bit of the sonic charisma of the records from '79, which was a great year for music. The target was to make a timeless record with good, classy songs that the four of us can agree are really cool."Nightingale’s “Retribution” comes packaged in beautiful artwork courtesy of Travis Smith (Opeth, Nevermore, Katatonia, etc.) and should equally appeal to open-minded atmospheric metal and also to melodic prog rock supporters into bands like Rush, Marillion, Styx, Kansas, The Mission, Queensryche, Enchant, Threshold, Arena oreven Opeth and Katatonia."
    $13.00
  • Essential third album from the Mwandishi band. A pure kosmigroov classic in which the ensemble touches on African based rhythms and electric fusion. Hancock and Patrick Gleeson somehow integrate a battery of electric keyboards into the jazz realm but in a way that was organic and seems just about right. A must own.
    $5.00
  • New edition comes with a bonus DVD filled with videos and documentaries. Same price as before!!Amaranthe are a new Swedish/Danish band signed to Spinefarm. The band is fronted by Elize, who you will know from her touring with Kamelot. To say Elize is hot is an understatement. The band don't take the expected gothic metal route. Their order of business is a mix of poppy-melodic metal laced with death metal. Curiously the band features three vocalists. Elize is front and center but she shares the spotlight with the death growls of Dreamland's Jake E and the clean vocals of Andy Solvestrom. At times there is a similarity to some of Delain's poppier tunes but the death growls add a heavier aspect. There was a buzz developing on this disc before it hit here - I have to say I was quite surprised.
    $12.00
  • Kindly Bent To Free Us is the long awaited third album from Cynic.  It finds the core trio of Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert, and Sean Malone intact.  Just as Traced In Air was an evolution from Focus, so is Kindly Bent To Free Us a natural sounding progression from Traced In Air.  There is a common underlying sound which is clearly Cynic.  The music still maintains metallic and jazz roots but it serves as a foundation for a sound that owes more to prog rock.  If you are expecting Focus you will be disappointed.  This probably owes more to Porcupine Tree and Riverside as its not quite as technical as in the past, relying more on atmosphere.  But don't get me wrong, there is some unbelievable playing going on.  Once again Sean Malone demonstrates that he is the most underrated bassist in the world.  Highly recommended.
    $11.00
  • Sikth is a band out of London that I find incredibly hard to describe but mesmerizing none the less. Best phrase I heard relative to SikTh is "weirdcore" and that fits them perfectly although calling these guys a prog metal band would definitely be a natural for them as well. The band's lineup consists of two guitarists, two vocalists, bass and drums. The music has a definite technical metal vibe. It's very chaotic and intense with guitar solos wizzing around over bark and shout as well as clean vox. Very extreme at times but constantly engaging. I found this to be a real challenge to listen to but in a good way. It wasn't exactly like anything I've heard before and it kept kicking me in the head. Highly recommended.
    $12.00
  • Dial is the new project put together by Kristoffer Gildenlow upon his departure from Pain Of Salvation. His partners are Liselotte Hegt and Rommert van der Meer, formerly of Dutch prog metal band Cirrha Niva. The music has a modern feel with emphasis on mood and textures. I'm reminded a bit of Kate Bush. Some nice male/female harmonies. The band is rounded out by Elegy drummer Dirk Bruinenberg with contributions on vocals by Devon Graves (Dead Soul Tribe). Certainly a bit different and nothing at all like PoS.
    $3.00
  • Second album from this incredible fusion trio from North Carolina will blow your skull off.  Trioscapes consists of Between The Buried And Me bassist Dan Briggs and Walter Fancourt (tenor sax/flute), and Matt Lynch (drums).  Don't let the absence of keys or guitar throw you.  This is mild altering, high energy fusion. You get the chops from hell, tripped out soundscapes, and head throttling melodies.  And that's just the first tune!!!  Utterly lethal.  BUY OR DIE!!"Much of what can conceivable be written of Trioscapes‘ most recent album Digital Dream Sequence is exactly what could be written about their previous offering Separate Realities.Musicians, jazz musicians particularly, may spit their coffee all over their keyboards on reading that, apopleptic and petulant – pointing out that where the previous album was underpinned by Ionic mode progressions, that this one is rooted in the Chromatic (or somesuch muso guff). Suffice to say that, as with Separate Realities, Digital Dream Sequence does not cling to homely pentatonic melodies or major chord, 4/4 song structures.It is a surprising and joyful departure from the predictable, which would be easy to describe as mind-expanding if it did not so closely follow its predecessor in structure and feel.As it is, there are a few physical embellishments to the formula worth noting, but not many. Keyboard fills (or what sounds like keyboards – what Dan Briggs can do with a bass guitar and effects pedals can be confusing at times) bring an extra accent to the pieces, as well as atmospheric depth on, say, the opening sequence of ‘From the Earth to the Moon’. On that track, the use of keyboard wash with a glockenspiel voice is foregrounded in something that tips a hat to Pink Floyd’s exploration of moon themes, before it takes off into something more definitely Trioscapes in its saxophone/bass/percussion attack. The track goes on to finish with an outro that co-opts much of the main theme from Tubular Bells.Keys, elsewhere on Digital Dream Sequence, play a role more to do with sound dynamics than with song structure – they fill a gap in the lower mids that is left between Walter Fancourt’s flute and alto saxophone moments.To state outright that this album sounds like Separate Realities is misleading though – there is much in the way of progression to note, and a gelling of roles between band members who have, onstage and in the studio, found a way to fit their individual talents into a group dynamic. Although there were moments of more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts alchemy on the earlier album, they were rarer than they are on Digital Dream Sequence. The latter has more raw groove, embeds moments of individual technical dexterity into the compositions less abruptly, and overall displays a more comfortable fusion (arg – that word!) between the funk and metal aesthetics that comprise the Trioscapes recipe.Of that curious mix, the mention of both Pink Floyd and Mike Oldfield above may offer some clue – there is a smattering of prog rock reference on Digital Dream Sequence (the intro to final track ‘The Jungle’ particularly) which opens a world of musical territory to the trio. Particularly the rhythms of Mali, which fascinated prog musicians for much of the 80s. Or perhaps that is too fanciful (jazz and funk have, historically, a more direct conduit to African rhythms than anything channeled through prog, after all).Nevertheless, that final track, once one has re-accustomed the ear to the Trioscapes tag-team approach to rhythm, tension and controlled saxophone madness, throbs with a primal, sweaty and utterly invigorating energy that transcends jazz, funk, metal or rock and is its own glorious creation.Which is something that never quite happened on Separate Realities (and bear in mind that Separate Realities was chosen by this reviewer as the album of 2012). This time Trioscapes have thrown off the anxiety of influence, have coalesced their individual contributions into a smoother whole, and have dug deeply to find an immense gravitronic groove.It’s a throbbing monster of an album." - Trebuchet Magazine
    $14.00