Royal Jester // Night is Young
Rating: 1.5/5.0 —Surely you Jest
Label: Scarlet Records
Release Dates: EU: 12.04.2010 | US: ?

Hate is a very strong word and perhaps it gets thrown around too casually these days. After all, hate is a very ugly, negative emotion and even the angriest of metal guys should strive to avoid it. With that said, I hate Royal Jester’s debut album Night is Young. Maybe that sounds harsh but it’s the sad truth. It isn’t the musical style that brings me to hate it. Royal Jester plays Euro power metal and I really like Euro power metal when it’s done properly. I even like some of what might be called “happy power metal.” In fact, it seems I have become the resident power metal geek around these parts and that’s why this review ended up in my lap. However, after sustained, repeated listens to this album with an open mind, and giving this young band from Sweden every possible benefit of the doubt, there isn’t much good to say about Night is Young.

Royal Jester’s take on Euro power metal is painfully generic and unoriginal and it’s done in such a way that absolutely nothing about them stands out and grabs the listener. It seems as if these guys formed a band and ran down the Official Power Metal Checklist without any further thought. Fast guitars without edge or bite? Check. Rapid fire double bass runs? Check. Bouncy, happy sounding, utterly non-threatening music? Check, double check. Toss in an extremely nondescript singer and you have Royal Jester. In fact, everything about this band is derivative. From the Edguy themed album cover to the Edguy themed band name (I will refrain from bashing their completely awful name to avoid excessive crankiness).

Of the ten songs on Night is Young, none really stand out from one another. Each attempts to emulate the style of Freedom Call, Insania or Axenstar and all generally fail because this is just so damn plain and average. Of the lot, I suppose “Wings of Tomorrow” and “Born Again” qualify as best in show, but when things are this dismal, what difference does it make? Worst in show is clearly “If You Were Mine,” which is one of the most insipid, cringe worthy, and giggle inducing “metal” songs to come along in quite some time. This is the song you would NOT want to be playing when your other heavy metal buddies came over. Honestly, even your little sister would smack you around if she heard you listening to this pablum.

Basically, there isn’t a whole lot more to say about these guys and why prolong the pain? There is an old expression that applies here. “Success is easy, just be the first, best or different.” Royal Jester fails at all three. They are a clone made from another clone. Nothing here is new, interesting, exciting or even well done. It isn’t heavy and it sure isn’t powerful and only serves to exemplify why power metal has gotten a bad name among the metal intelligentsia. There are only two reasons I can see anyone buying this album: Either because they must have every new power metal album that comes out or they mistakenly thought it was Royal Hunt [or they’re from the same town. Support local music! – AMG]. If you want to hear a quality power metal album, hunt down the new release from Sinbreed and see how this is supposed to be done. Stay far, far away from this flowery, candy- coated fiasco.

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  • I don’t know that I agree with you. I like this “Wings of Tomorrow” track pretty well. It’s like a “metal” version of something that could be on those Sonic Dance Music cd’s from the mid-nineties. Maybe the rest is worse, but that was pretty good.

  • Steel Druhm

    Well, I did say “Wings of Tomorrow” was one of the better songs on the album. I just don’t think the album has much to offer. As a young band they have lots of room to improve and get better.

  • Steel Druhm

    And..if something sounds like dance music, it really isn’t working as power metal. Just saying….

  • bt

    Surprised by this review. I’m really enjoying the album, it’s very much like Nightscape’s Symphony of the Night. I don’t see it as a complete ripoff like the reviewer does. As far as the genre goes, this album sounds absolutely nothing like Insania or Freedom Call, why the references?

    I will say it’s dangerously infringing on Blink 182 territory and the auto tune is out in full force (which deserves criticism), but it’s still a very good power metal album. This just happens to fall into the happier side of things. Fuck what’d your metal buddies think! I’m always scratching my head when a review says a particular power metal album is too happy, that’s the fucking genre, get over it!

    Good production, catchy vocals, good performances = a great debut.

  • steel druhm

    Hey, there are tons of power metal bands that are not bouncy, bright and happy. Some of the happy stuff is fine. I think this album however, has nothing going for it whatsoever. That said, I’m glad you enjoy it.

  • masaokis

    That “Wings of Tomorrow” track is like some kind of drug to me. It just instantly lifts my mood whenever I play it and I start to feel this giddy, goofy kind of happy.

    On the other hand, I fully realize how unoriginal/derivative/trite/cliché/dated/naive/unsophisticated/embarrassing it is, and how it’s kind of baffling why grown men around the world write this music. Are they controlling my mind somehow? Maybe it’s inducing the production of endorphins in my brain while shutting off my higher reasoning and critical functions.

    Is Sweden so unbearably cold and dark that they somehow need this music in order to survive?