The name Royal Hunt appeared for the first time in 1989; a brainchild of André Andersen (main songwriter in the band) this outfit was created in order to combine basic values of Classic Rock with progressive, current musical elements. Today, after selling around 1.7 million albums and touring the world numerous times, the band’s still going strong… here’s the story:
After countless local club tours the band secured their first record deal with Teichiku Records, Japan (Panasonic branch), a management deal with Majestic Entertainment (USA) and a world wide publishing agreement with Warner Chappell.
Debut album – “Land of Broken Hearts” came out in 1991 and sold 35 000 copies in Japan alone; soon it’s been out in USA (through Rondell Records), where it created a buzz through a net of college radio stations.
An instrumental piece from the album – “Martial Arts” – was picked as a theme tune by Japanese Wrestling Federation and still is the best selling “sports single” in the country (passed 150 000 copies).
Another tour followed bringing the band to Japan as well, where some unplugged performances created a demand for an “exclusive” release – “The Maxi Single” (1992), which contained 4 unplugged versions of songs from the debut album and two new tracks.
The follow up album – “Clown in the Mirror” – recorded in Denmark and mixed at House Of Music, NY and mastered by legendary George Marino at Sterling, NY – were released in 1993 by the abovementioned labels and – selling beyond 60 000 units – brought the band on the road again, only this time including a two months tour across USA… besides Europe and Japan.
Right after the tour the band’s got their first “hit”, releasing an EP containing 4 live tracks and a new song – “Far Away” (1995) – which went on top of Japanese rock charts and stayed there for a while, pushing the sells figures up to 70 000 units… a longer promo tour brought the band to the SE Asia and most of the Northern Europe.
Next studio album – “Moving Target” (1995), recorded/mixed at Medley Studio (DK) with Lars Overgaard behind the desk – was the first one to be released world wide (Royal Hunt has finally inked the deal with Long Island Records in Europe) and paved the way to a 72-dates world tour, selling around 120 000 copies.
Various rock publications throughout the world honoured Royal Hunt as “the best live band of the year” as well as “the best album of the year”.
Next year saw the band releasing a double live album – “1996” – accompanied by a “8-cameras-shot-full length VHS” (the concert was filmed/recorded in a prestigious, sold out 5000 seater Gotanda U-port Hall, Japan)… a combination which is still regarded as one of the best live releases of the decade.
“Paradox” – the album which many fans (as well as the press) are considering to be a “classic” – came out in 1997 and propelled Royal Hunt to the top of numerous rock charts around the globe, followed by a 4 months non-stop tour and another “live CD/VHS” – “Closing the Chapter” (1998) – showing the band (through a 10 camera set-up) performing the entire “Paradox” with a huge stage production (completely sponsored by Martin Lights (DK).
In 1999 the band released their next studio album – “Fear”, this time through SPV (Europe), Pony Canyon (Japan and SE Asia) and Magna Carta (USA). As usual the world tour followed, this time bringing the band to some new territories – Korea and Russia – and ending on the main stage of Germany`s Wacken Open Air festival in front of 55 000 people. Royal Hunt – again and again – rewarded with assorted awards for “best live performance”/”album of the year” from various media outlets.
Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles became a basis for a concept trilogy released in 2001: a single “Intervention”, a full length album “The Mission” and an EP “The Watchers” (claimed to be “the longest EP in history”, containing over 70 minutes of material). The following tour stretched over a period of 6 months, including a headliner slot at Pusan Open Air festival (attendance: 25 000, sold out) and Russia (where the band signed a separate record deal with AMG Records for Russia and CIS).
Without missing a beat Royal Hunt releases their new studio album, “Eyewitness” in 2003 and – in order to regroup and to reinforce some of their business structures – decides to skip another major tour, concentrating on a few selected festivals (incl. FireFest (UK) and Italy’s “Gods of Rock”) as well as countless TV and radio appearances throughout the world.
“Paper Blood” came out in the spring of 2005 and created a substantial stir among the fans and the press by it’s simplified, aggressive nature and was followed by not one, but two full blown tours; as a celebration of Royal Hunt’s first double live CD/VHS “1996”, the sold out show in St.Petersburg?s Music Hall (Russia) was captured by 7 cameras and released as a double CD/DVD package, simply named “2006”.
Represented by Frontiers Records (Europe), Marquee/Avalon (Japan/SE Asia), Magna Carta (USA/N.America), Riot Entertainment (Australia) and CD Maximum (Russia/CIS) Royal Hunt releases “Collision Course – Paradox II” in 2008. Scoring high positions on the charts around the world and receiving raving reviews in the press, the band’s embarking on yet another tour – this time including in the fold of “usual suspects” countries like Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland, closing at the main stage of Sweden Rock Festival (attendance: 35 000)
“Future?s Coming from the Past” live-DVD was released in 2010 just in time for the band?s next tour in 2011 – a handful of shows in Europe, Japan and Russia in order to pave the way to Royal Hunt?s next studio album – “Show Me How to Live”. Achieving almost impossible – such as topping the already impeccable production of previous releases – the album became an instant hit combining strong songwriting with thoughtful lyrics and virtuoso playing from each member. Critics were happy, fans were excited and the upcoming tour (SE Asia, Russia and Europe with the final performance at FireFest, UK) was doomed to become a success – but this time with a little twist:
In order to celebrate Royal Hunt?s 20th birthday the band releases a triple CD and a DVD in one stunningly looking digipack: “20th Anniversary – Special Edition”. Carefully picked (and slightly re-mastered) 25 of their best songs representing the evolution of the band on two CDs, a “Royal Hunt – 93/97” DVD and yet another CD containing some of the “bonus tracks” recorded over the years… AND some extra stuff as well:
The band re-recorded three of their previously released songs in an “unplugged” version – vocals, drums, bass and two acoustic guitars – yet in order to do this album even more “special” they wrote and recorded a completely new song – Save Me – full production and all. With a great artwork to match this release was a big “thank you” to all Royal Hunt fans for 20 years of uncompromised support.
After two successful decades of reinventing and improving their genre of music (celebrated throughout 2012 with a successful tour and release of the “20th Anniversary – Special Edition” multiple CD/DVD box set, ROYAL HUNT as a brand is about to enter the next chapter of their evolution:
New album – “A Life To Die For” – is focused on the most symphonic and dramatic aspect of Royal Hunt. For the first time in the band?s history some orchestral and classical choir arrangements have been additionally recorded in order to accelerate this dramatic musical piece into epic proportions.
“A Life To Die For” has been released by Frontiers Records on November 29th 2013 in Europe and December 3th in N. America, Marquee/Avalon on November 20th in Japan/SE Asia as a regular CD, limited-edition Digipack with bonus DVD and a gatefold vinyl.
Royal Hunt´s 13th studio album – Devil´s Dozen – stays very true to the original, larger-than-life Royal Hunt sound: with imaginative instrumentation, intricate arrangements, soaring vocals and catchy, massive choruses. Yet the addition of classical musicians/instruments and contemporary, modern day production elements twist the outcome into a unique sonic palette.
The band holds tight to the format which defined rock – an album chockfull of carefully crafted songs, recorded and mixed by a team of professionals who know how to combine crystal clear sonics with a weighty punch. Royal Rock… no substitutes!
Same year the band was invited to play at three widely known festivals: ProgPower (USA), LoudPark (Japan) and Rockingham (UK). Recordings from these appearances later appeared on “Cargo” – a double live album which came out in the March of 2016. Following the success of both releases Royal Hunt went on 7-weeks tour throughout entire Europe, Russia, Ukraine and SE Asia.
By the end of the tour the band was scheduled to play at “Izvestya Hall” in Moscow – a beautiful, modern concert venue right in the center of the city – and promptly decided to record a full concert live DVD titled… well, in order to continue with the already established tradition: “2016”. Filmed with 9 Hi-Def cameras the video captured Royal Hunt at their best: a great set list, powerful sound, stellar stage production/lights, all cheered by an enthusiastic crowd and – as usual – the energy level off the charts.
So how to progress and yet keep the identity which took over 25 years to establish? How to create the ever evolving – and at times rather complicated – musical compositions and wrap it up in an accessible format with that recognizable sound? Royal Hunt does it with ease and – with their 14th studio album – proves once again that creativity and staying true to yourself can work hand-in-hand and produce some astonishing results: will you please welcome the ultimate proof of that – “Cast in Stone”. Released in February 2018 and featuring hits as “Fistful of Misery” and “The Last Soul Alive” this album made reviewers as well as fans to wholeheartedly agree: Royal Hunt is truly an unstoppable force.
During their – mainly – festival appearances in 2018/2019 the band plays to thousands and thousands of exited fans throughout the world and finishes the trek with a triumphant performance at the “Heroes of Rock” festival in Russia in front of 100 000+ metalheads.
Along came 2020 and yet again Royal Hunt keep intriguing fans with their adventurous endeavors… and the band´s 15th studio album “Dystopia” is no exception: a monumental concept opus – inspired by Ray Bradbury´s classic novel “Fahrenheit 451” – featuring symphonic, progressive yet hard hitting compositions full of impeccable performances, wrapped tightly into immediately accessible format and a lush, contemporary production.
The addition of some extraordinary guest singers: Mats Leven (Candlemass, TSO, Skyblood), Mark Boals (Y.J. Malmsteen, Ring of Fire, Royal Hunt), Henrik Brockmann (Royal Hunt, Evil Masquerade, N´Tribe), Kenny Lubcke (Narita, Zoser Mez) and Alexandra Andersen (Royal Hunt, JSP).and their outstanding performances combined with vastly extended orchestrations creates a truly conceptual, cinematic feel throughout each and every track.