John Michael West (born October 29, 1964) is an American vocalist, best known as the lead vocalist of Artension and the former lead vocalist of Royal Hunt.

John West
West performing with Royal Hunt in 2006
West performing with Royal Hunt in 2006
Background information
BornOctober 29, 1964[1]
Syracuse, New York, U.S.
Genreshard rock, heavy metal, progressive metal, neoclassical metal, blues rock
Instrument(s)Vocals, guitar
Years active1986–present
LabelsShrapnel, Frontiers

Early career


Prior to his joining Royal Hunt in 1998, West contributed vocals to a variety of projects. His recording career began in 1986 as the singer of Diamond. Later, he sang for Destiny, who released the four-song demo Side By Side in 1989. He had brief stints replacing Ray Gillen in both Badlands and Sun Red Sun in the mid-1990s, also lending his voice to Cozy Powell's final solo album, Especially For You during this period. In lesser known projects, he also sang one track on Marc Ferrari's solo album Guest List in 1995, also handling vocal duties on self-titled albums by Many Moons and Rider the following year.



In 1996, West joined neoclassical power/progressive metal group Artension, who released their debut album Into The Eye of the Storm the same year. The band went on to release seven studio albums from 1996 to 2004. The group's second album, Phoenix Rising, is especially noted for West's wide-ranging vocal contributions. West and the band regrouped in 2016 with the intention of releasing a new album.[2]

Royal Hunt

West performing with Royal Hunt in 2002.

In 1998, West replaced D.C. Cooper as the lead singer of Royal Hunt, remaining with the group until 2007. He recorded four studio albums, one live album, and one EP with the group. West's ten-year tenure as the band's vocalist was the longest uninterrupted tenure of any singer in Royal Hunt's 25-year history until Cooper rejoined the band in 2011.

Solo career


West has released four albums under his own name, which have featured a wide variety of contributors. His first two, Mind Journey (1997) and Permanent Mark (1998), adopted a neoclassical metal style with many extended instrumental sections. After concentrating on Royal Hunt for a few years, West returned in 2002 with the concept album Earth Maker, which showcased a more song-oriented writing style while still retaining much of his previous sound. Finally, in 2006, West released Long Time No Sing, which is more of a blues-rock album. The latter disc features West playing guitar as well as singing.

Post-Royal Hunt


Since departing from Royal Hunt in 2007, West has lent his voice to a wide variety of projects. He appeared as the lead singer for Bosnian guitarist Emir Hot on his debut album Sevdah Metal in 2008 and keyboardist Mistheria's solo effort "Dragon Fire" in 2010. In 2012, he sang on symphonic metal band Mythodea's self-titled debut album, and in 2013, he collaborated with former Artension guitarist Roger Staffelbach to form Artlantica, an Artension-styled band that went on to release an album called Across The Seven Seas. He also appeared on Chilean progpower band Delta's fifth album, The End of Philosophy, singing a duet with the band's regular vocalist, Felipe del Valle, on the track "Bringers of Rain". After del Valle left the band in 2014, West recorded new versions of Delta's songs "New Philosophy" and "Regrets" as singles and also appeared with the band on the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise.

West has also toured as the singer for Uli Jon Roth's band and Ronnie James Dio/Ritchie Blackmore tribute band Black Knights Rising. He also collaborated with Danish guitar virtuoso Niels Vejlyt on a project called Sage's Recital, which put out their self-titled debut album in 2013 and followup The Winter Symphony in 2016.



Solo work

  • Mind Journey (1997)
  • Permanent Mark (1998)
  • Earth Maker (2002)
  • Long Time... No Sing (2006)
  • Johnny and Lonnie – "Greatest Misses" (2006)




  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 27, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Music and Art Interviews by Dan Roth: A Conversation with Vitalij Kuprij". June 20, 2016. Retrieved March 13, 2020.