Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Album Review: "Wick" by Royal Thunder

I had never heard of Royal Thunder until a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to see them as the opening act for The Sword.  The outstanding feature of this performance was Mlny Parsonz’s haunting, angst filled vocals, which straddled the line between being sung and being shouted, but always in perfect key, and always with the gravitas of a tortured soul.  

I resolved at the time to investigate Royal Thunder further.  Tragically, by the time headliners The Sword had finished pummeling my brain with an onslaught of mighty riffs the openers had slipped my mind.  I failed to give them the attention they had earned.  When I saw the promotion for their latest album WICK hit my in-box, I was grateful for the chance to remedy this oversight. 

The band has made a point of noting this album is somewhat of a departure from their previous offerings, but it certainly reminds me of everything I liked about their live set.  Moody, dark and rumbling guitar tones, hypnotic drum beats and Parsonz’s spooky vocals.

The album is melancholy and thoughtful. It is clearly a brand of psychedelic rock, and would not be out of place had it been released in the late 60s, still the sound defies comparison to their predecessors in the genre.  If pressed I would say it sounds to me somewhat like Grace Slick fronting Led Zeppelin.  It is every bit that good.

The eclectic Royal Thunder
Some tunes, such as “April Showers” plod along at a stoner rock pace, others, such as “Tied” rely heavily on a strong vocal melody. 

My favorite track “Turnaround” is a riff oriented rocker.  There is an incredible diversity of sound on WICK, but always are the songs loaded with strife and struggle.  

The band themselves note the death of people close to the band was an inspiration for the album's vibe, which they have described as "cathartic".  Reading Royal Thunder's description of the arduous recording process, one wonders whether the band was on the verge of implosion, or whether this adversity served to fuel the album's emotive content.   

It is not a happy album, but it is certainly powerful.  I thoroughly enjoyed every painful wail, mournful cry and forlorn note.  Royal Thunder will be ignored no longer.

Release Date:  April 7, 2017
Label:  Spinefarm Records
Genre:  Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock

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