The music of Royal Hunt has been described as powerful, majestic, melodic, progressive, impressive and elegant. All of these elements have earned them a strong following around the world with over one million units sold of their previously released studio albums - especially in Japan, unfortunately they are almost unknown in Denmark!
Multi-instrumentalist André Andersen (Ex Apart under the name "Andy Rage", and Ex Witch Cross) and bassist Steen Mogensen (Ex Apart/Scarlet) formed Royal Hunt back in 1992. Russian born Andersen was then and still is the mastermind behind the band, a classically trained pianist since the age of five and studied medicin before focusing 100% on the music.
In the beginning, like most bands, Royal Hunt paid their dues on the club scene as well as a few support gigs for major acts Saga and Talisman. With drummer Kenneth Olsen (Ex Suite 16) and vocalist Henrick Brockmann (Ex Crazy Modo/Jaded Heart) on board, the band started working on their debut album "Land of broken Hearts" in '93 independently, released on the small Danish label X-Treme Records. At the time, the band didn't have a guitarist in the band but had several friends playing such as Christian Helgesson, Henrik Lumholt, Carsten Olsen (Rhapsody/Jackal), Henrik Johannesen (Bad Monday), Frank Stechmann, Marc Gaunaa (Narita), yet one of the players on the album, Jacob Kjaer fit in very well and replaced Tonni Rahm (Prime Time) permanently a year later. The following album, "Clown in The Mirror", was released in '94.
After the promotional tour, Brockmann found he disliked traveling and left the band. Several auditions later, american D.C. Cooper joined the band who had a more flexible vocal - and they immediately went on to their first concert tour in Japan. Soon after, they started working on their third album, "Moving Target" released in '95. The single, "Far Away", which was dedicated to the victims of the devastating earthquake in Kobe, hit number one on the Japanese charts and stayed there for four months.
During the band's European tour supporting Gotthard - I was there when they hit Hamburg, great show! - Olsen was hit by pneumonia. Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with tinnitus too and could no longer play with the band. They needed a replacement and fast, so Andersen called in drummer Allan Sørensen, a friend from the Danish band Narita. Within 36 hours, the drummer flew to Switzerland, rehearsed and was on stage with the band for their set. From that tour they released an EP called "Far Away" and a double live set simply called "1996" - also relesed on video!
When it came to writing the fourth album, Andersen went in with a concept in mind. Says the keyboardist - "I somehow liked the idea of bringing Christ back almost 2000 years later just to conclude that unfortunately nothing has changed, and that his sacrifice was to no avail. People always do what they want and try to convince themselves that it's something God wants."
"Paradox" did exceptionally well worldwide, propelling the band into new levels of success especially in Japan - and "Paradox" is my favorite Royal Hunt album, anyway!. It was there that they were named Best Performing Band in BURRN! Magazine by the readers' poll, the same magazine where Andersen was named Best Keyboardist for three years in a row. This album was in Europe ranked among the best 100 albums of all time.
In 1998, after over a year on the road, the band decided it was time to take a break. That was except for Andersen who recorded his solo album "Changing Skin" with the help from Kenny Lübcke and Kenneth Olsen and later (in 2002) the album "Black on Black" which includes vocalist Ian Perry from Elegy among others. But it was that time away from each other that confirmed that it was in their best interest as a band to part company with Cooper, who had made a solo album too with the help from German hard-rockers Pink Cream 69. Cooper is now active with his new outfit Silent Force founded with guitarist Alex Beyrodt (Ex Sinner/Primal Fear). They have released "The Empire of the Future" and "Infatuator" on Massacre Records.
Many vocalists began to swap tapes with the band, including the busy John West (Sun Red Sun/Artension/Lynch Mob). He recorded his vocals to a demo of "Far Away" and then flew over to Denmark to spend some time with the band, to see if their personalities matched, and tried some other tracks together. In a few weeks time, West became the band's new frontman and recorded his vocals to the backing tracks that were almost completed by the band during the audition process.
"Fear" was the first album for West with Royal Hunt. It was also the first album recorded, mixed and produced in Andersen's new studio, North Point, in Copenhagen. From the progressive grandiose title track to the beautiful power ballad "Follow Me", the album explores many rock styles, yet still retains the Royal Hunt sound which has become so familiar to fans and critics alike. The pounding "Lies" exposes their heavier side and seems the perfect first single to set the tone for the band's current state.
Steen Mogensen took some time of in 2000 to record the debut with his new project Cornerstone featuring star vocalist Dougie White famed for his excellent vocals on Rainbow's "Stanger in us all" - they were joined by friends like Jacob Kjaer on guitars, Tonni Rahm on guitars, André Andersen on keyboards and Allan Sørensen on drums. On backing vocals they have Kenny Lübcke (Narita) and Henrik Brockmann. And in 2002 they released their second CD with young talented guitarist Kaspar Damgaard (Mike Tramp) on a more Rainbow and Deep Purple influenced album.
In 2001 Royal Hunt has finished their new studio masterpiece, "The Mission". The album is based on a Science Fiction novel by Ray Bradbury "Marian Chronicles" and takes you beyond your day to day earthling little chores. The album is to be released in early September 2001 on Frontiers Records in the whole Europe except France and the ex USSR territories.
In 2003 the new album, "Eye Witness", is another chapter in the adventure on which the Hunters embark on. The album is based on a simple idea of "What’s the media feeding us with today?". Is the album conceptual? Yes and no. The media is a concept, but the music has no boundaries.
In 2005 after 2 years rest the band return with a new revitalized line up and another conceptual album "Paper Blood".
Current line Up:
Andre Andersen - Keyboards
Marcus Lidell - Guitar
John West - Vocals
Kenneth Olsen - Drums
Maria McTurk, Kenny Lubcke - backing vocals
Allan Sörensen - drums
Soma Allpas - Viola
Peter Brander - Dobro
In 2005 both Steen Mogensen and Jacob Kjaer left - but Andre Andersen and John West recruited Swedish hot shot guitarist Marcus Jidell who previously played in Jackyl & Hyde and The Ring. A new record is on its way..