A progressive metal band based out of Denmark, Royal Hunt employ a melody-rich blend of neo-classical power metal and progressive and traditional hard rock. The group found success in the mid-’90s via the albums Moving Target and Paradox, with the latter LP delivering the instrumental “Martial Arts,” which became synonymous with professional Japanese wrestler Masahiro Chono when he chose it for his entrance music. Despite enduring numerous lineup changes, the band continued to be prolific well into the 2010s, selling millions of albums worldwide, including acclaimed efforts like Fear (1999), Show Me How to Live (2011), and Dystopia (2020).
Royal Hunt began in Copenhagen in 1991 when bandleader André Andersen, originally from Moscow, joined up with singer Henrik Brockmann, bassist Steen Mogensen, and drummer Kenneth Olsen. With Andersen on keyboards and session musicians playing guitar, Royal Hunt recorded their first album, Land of Broken Hearts. This was a basic rock set featuring Andersen’s classically influenced melodies. For their second long-player, Clown in the Mirror, Jacob Kjaer, who had played on the first record, joined the band as lead guitar player. A much more progressive album, the set featured even more classical-sounding melodies than its predecessor.
A new era of Royal Hunt music began on their next album, Moving Target, when Brockmann was replaced by American singer D.C. Cooper. Although Andersen continued to write all the songs, Cooper brought a different, softer sound to the band. Andersen’s songwriting also matured, and Moving Target sounded more like an album, as opposed to a collection of songs. Yet another lineup change ensued by fourth LP Paradox — drummer Olsen had to leave the group due to hearing problems. Paradox, featuring a session drummer, continued along in the direction started by Moving Target, albeit a little softer. The concert LP Double Live in Japan and the studio album Fear both arrived in 1999; the latter was the first outing for new vocalist John West.
The band’s sixth long-player, 2001′s The Mission, was a concept album built around author Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi classic The Martian Chronicles, and was followed in 2003 by Eyewitness. 2005′s Paper Blood saw the departures of Jacob Kjaer and Steen Mogensen, and was the last Royal Hunt outing to feature West on vocals. 2008′s Collision Course: Paradox, Vol. 2 introduced new vocalist Mark Boals, who also appeared on 2010′s aptly named X. 2011′s Show Me How to Live marked the return of vocalist D.C. Cooper, who stayed on board for follow-up albums A Life to Die For (2013), Devil's Dozen (2015), Cast in Stone (2018), and Dystopia in two parts (2020, 2022).