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.