Often bands are formed for a shared love of similar tastes of music. Not only born out of eclectic tastes, Royal Thunder have absorbed these influences into their music to produce an unusual hybrid of Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Indie, Goth and Grunge. This makes Royal Thunder, at the very least, interesting. And garnering interest and expectations is exactly what they have been gathering with a nomination for best new underground band in Metal Hammer’s 2015 awards.
‘’Crooked doors’’ is their sophomore album and they don’t hold back from creating an intriguing long-player, which is complex and layered with many subtleties and styles. The majority of the tracks require proper listening and are slow burners rather than instant catchy hooks and melodies. The exception is the excellent ‘Glow’, especially the opening guitar riff, which builds to a supremely climatic ending.
But be patient because with repeated listens this will seduce, captivate, and reward, especially with the opener ‘Time machine’, the slow chugging ‘Forget you’, and the staggeringly good ‘Forgive me, Karma’. ‘Wake up’ combines The Afghan Whigs soulful grunge with a sense of cathartic and life changing lyrics from Milny Parsonz. While the beautifully bold ‘One day’, is broad in scope and packed full of emotional weightiness. The addition of second guitarist Josh Coleman to aid founder Josh Weaver has definitely added an extra dimension to their sound with nuanced guitar playing throughout.
Mlny’s immensely strong vocals with her ability to find many ranges from softly sang to gritty howls of deep anguish, complements the complexities of the musical arrangements. Personally she has undergone a transformation from a wayward time in her youth to joining a religious cult, but instead has found redemption with music and meeting her spouse, fellow band member Josh Weaver. She has successfully transferred her hitherto intriguing life onto an absorbing and profound record. Her tones remind me of a cross between Siouxxie Sioux, Chrissie Hynde, Grace Slick and even a touch of Tori Amos in ‘The bear 11’ with just vocals and piano.
Royal Thunder have the potential to establish their own unique sound even further, and build on this album, then they have every chance to become at the very least a cult band. This is an album to admire for bravely pulling off so many styles and it definitely got me digging out my early Blue Oyster Cult and Afghan Whigs albums, which can only be a good thing.