|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. Their talent to combine just the right amounts of rock music with classical overtones, and strong songs with great showmanship, has merited the respect of fellow musicians and fans alike.
Multi-instrumentalist Andre Andersen and bassist Steen Mogensen formed Royal Hunt in the '90s. Band mastermind Andersen, a classically trained pianist since the age of five, wanted to mesh his two main influences for the new band. Says Andersen, "I was tired of playing with standard rock bands and wanted to expand a merge between classical and rock. I knew I wanted good, dedicated players who I could be friends with, as well as creating a real band, not a project." 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 and vocalist Henrick Brockmann on board, the band started working on their debut album Land of Broken Hearts in '93 independently. At the time, the band didn't have a guitarist in the band, yet one of the players on the album, Jacob Kjaer, fit in very well and joined 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, Pittsburgh native D.C. Cooper joined the band and they immediately went on their first concert tour in Japan. Soon after, they started working on their third album, releasing Moving Target 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, Olsen was hit by a serious bout of pneumonia. Shortly afterwards he was diagnosed with tinnitus (ringing in the ears caused by nerve damage) and could no longer play with the band. They needed a replacement and fast, so Andersen called in drummer Allen Sorensen, 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.
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. 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 ranked in Europe 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. But it was that time away from each other that confirmed that it was in their best interest as a band to part with Cooper. Many vocalists began to swap tapes with the band, including John West, who was singing with the band Artension. 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, John 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. West, who had already established himself as a solo artist as well as his work with drummer Cozy Powell, was eager to work with the band. "I knew Royal Hunt was a real band," says the vocalist. "Doing solo stuff is fine, but the relationships with the players are usually distant and brief. Everybody lives in different states or countries and you only see each other for pictures or in the studio. I am looking forward to being out live with the Hunters!" 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 that 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. The band had finished the 20th century promoting Fear with tour dates into the new millennium.
At the present time, Royal Hunt has finished their new studio masterpiece, THE MISSION. The album is based on a Sci-Fi novel by Ray Bradbury "Martian Chronicles" and takes you beyond your day-to-day earthling little chores.