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Royal Thunder – CVI – Album Review

Royal Thunder – CVI – Album Review
3.5
Website: facebook.com/royalthundermusic
Fans Of: Baroness, The Devil’s Blood, Rush, Red Fang
Label: Relapse
Download This: Parsonz Curse, Whispering World
Genre(s): Rock, Blues
Release Date: 22/05/12

Unlike certain other reviewers on this site, I regularly wear socks. Upon sticking Royal Thunder’s new album through my amplifier I found myself thinking, ‘yes, this sounds like an album that might well blow them clean off.’ The opening track, ‘Parsonz Curse’, is filled with the sort of promise you otherwise only get as you open a Kinder Egg. What hidden gifts might lie in wait for me here?

With my socks at half-mast, ready to be detonated, I listened excitedly to the epic opening track. Combining deeply foreboding guifar riffs and a real classic rock sensibility, this sounded right up my street. That opening song is such a great statement of intent, surely the album has to be a complete blinder?

Well, we’ll get to that in a bit. First I want to talk about Geddy Lee. If you don’t know this chap, he is the lead singer and bass player for the original geeky prog-metallers Rush.He possesses a completely unique voice, extremely high-pitched and shrieking. He sounds, in fact, like a woman. Which coincidentally is what the lead singer of Royal Thunder is – her name is Miny Parsonz and she likes naming songs after herself.

So what does Miny sound like? Well, she sounds like Geddy Lee. So she sounds like a man who sounds like a woman. She also occasionally sounds a bit like Ronnie James Dio. So all is good there.

The Rush and Rainbow similarities don’t stop with the vocals- at times Royal Thunder’s music really does veer into the territory occupied by those seventies bands (and others). They spice it up a bit with a modern dark metal undertone mixed in, but whilst that perhaps gives them a bit of distinctiveness, it is also this album’s achilles heel.

Maybe it’s just me that thinks this, but I believe a truly good album should soar and swoop, taking in a variety of moods and feelings and offering highs and lows. A good tracklist can be the difference between greatness and mediocrity. This album has, what, ten tracks of mid-paced rock that each offer sporadic bursts of energy and occasional moments of introspection. None of the tracks are bad, far from it, they are all enjoyable slices of seventies-esque rock, but after half a dozen identical (and increasingly dark) songs I find myself wishing desperately for more variety. And my socks begin to slowly climb back up.

This is such a shame. They are a promising band with a fantastic sound (check out those big resonant toms) and I imagine they are superb live, but they haven’t quite made a great album here. It’s fine for adding into a random playlist certainly, but that’s not quite enough for me. Could their next album perhaps take the step to sock-exploding greatness? I think the band are talented enough, I really do, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Track Listing

1. Parsonz Curse
2. Whispering World
3. Shake and Shift
4. No Good
5. Blue
6. Sleeping Witch
7. South of Somewhere
8. Drown
9. Minus
10. Black Water Vision

Download Whispering World …