Royal Hunt – X (2010)
I discovered Royal Hunt in 1998 and they have been a favorite of mine ever since. I remember picking up a copy of the Metal Dreams fanzine and there was an article on the band that stirred my interest…..then I started to notice all their albums well-stocked in the “import” section at my local record store. I didn’t really pick up on the band until I discovered that you could listen to music online with your dial-up AOL connection! Yes, those were the internet dark ages for me, dial-up in 1998! Anyway, over the next year, I devoured anything I could on Royal Hunt and I picked up all of their albums through to 1999’s FEAR. As my favorite record shop started to decline in sales and inventory (and eventually closed around 2002), acquiring Royal Hunt albums became a little harder and buying online became the best alternative.
The band’s latest album, X, was announced back in late 2009 and was released in Japan on Marquee/Avalon in January 2010. Unfortunately, Japanese import prices can total upwards of $30+ (including shipping) so I passed with the hope that a U.S. release would happen soon after. I noticed that there weren’t many Japanese copies of X floating around at the time and it seemed like the album was one of those small pressings that record companies sometimes do if there’s a contract issue. Sure enough, Royal Hunt had just extended their Japanese contract for this one album. A release date for Europe was announced for June 2010 on Scarlet Records but I really never heard much on Royal Hunt over the summer. There were copies available online but the price with shipping still totalled over $20+ and I was holding out for a copy of two to land at my local record store. Newbury Comics never stocked it so I passed buy it.
Recently, my Royal Hunt radar has gone back up because the band reunited with former lead singer D.C. Cooper to tour Japan for a run of dates. I’m not sure how this affects Mark Boals status in the band but it affects my status in acquiring X. Of all the 2010 albums I missed last year, this album is on my high priority list.