Royal Anguish hail from the U.S.A. and apparently have been around since the early 90’s. I read that the band had bad luck with record deals up until the new millennium. As of late 2005 they are under contract at Fear Dark. As I understand it, they have released until so far: 2 EP’s and 2 full length CD’s and contributed a couple of songs to some samplers.
This is my first acquaintance with Royal Anguish.
I have to say that this CD was a tough one to review. This was mainly because “A Journey Through The Shadows Of Time” is a really diverse CD and that is certainly not a bad thing. With the word “diverse” I mean the diversity of impressions that I got when listening to this CD. I had to listen to this CD with my whole attention otherwise I would miss certain parts. This often happened when I had “A Journey Through The Shadows Of Time” on in the background while doing some small things, and then the song that I was listening to at that moment, would sound incomplete and strange as soon as I put my attention back to the CD. I think that some parts of this CD are so diverse and cramped full of stuff, that it’s easy to loose track of the main thread of “A Journey Through The Shadows Of Time” and that’s a pity because Royal Anguish is a good band featuring some skilled musicians.
Royal Anguish make a mix of brutal death metal and gothic metal with male grunts and females vocals. I would like to add fantasy metal with a storytelling touch to that description.
Albums to which you could compare the sound and feel of “A Journey Through The Shadows Of Time” to could be the first 2 albums of Bal Sagoth, “Rozelowe” from Cryptic Carnage and “Crimson” from Edge of Sanity. Still, Royal Anguish has some original quirks and that’s enough to have a partial face of their own.
The music, as I pointed out earlier, is very diverse but also very dynamic. A lot of stuff is happening in each new song. Every change, like for example, blast parts, solo’s or acoustic parts, follow each other up rapidly. I was still perfectly able to follow what was happening as long as I had my whole attention on the CD.
There is a lot stuff to enjoy on “A Journey Through The Shadows Of Time”. A track like “Fall from Grace” (track 8) which has a bit more gut then the other tracks. The female opera like vocals are also somewhat more convincing on this here.
And then there’s the powerful and clear production, done by Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, ex-Morbid Angel), which certainly helps to really pump the music out of your stereo.
All in all, I think it’s safe to conclude that Royal Anguish made an aspiring album with “A Journey Through The Shadows Of Time”. It’s a marriage between 2 different styles that has certainly worked out for the greater part. This also makes it an album that does not easily bore.
Recommended for people who listen to both death metal and gothic metal, and people who want to try something different. (Rockzine.net)