Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Royal Thunder : CVI
While the Atlanta band's e.p., survived the test of time on my i-Pod a feat thanks to the rotting corpse of Steve Jobs, since iTunes up dates fail to accommodate products they still sold such as my iPod classic, so instead of 60 gigs of music I'm reduced to 20, given the rate I consume music it makes for some hard choices every Sunday. So that's an indication of how highly I place the e.p. the anticipated "CVI" album required several listens to grow on me. Not to mention living in Atlanta at present, Royal Thunder finds themselves in a place where he local hype built up around this band is not aligned with the reality. In comparison to a band like Christian Mistress, which most locals aren't familiar with how adventurous are Royal Thunder? Well lets dive into this thing and find out.
At first I would have told you The 2nd track "Whispering world" feels like it would have have been a better opener than "Parsonz Curse" a more simmering blue number that takes it time getting wound up into a gospel slither.This still may or may not be true while I now do not dislike "Parsonz Curse" as I had upon initial listens, in fact it did not make the synch to my ipod, until given a few more tires on the Relapse records band camp page.It could be the lyrical subject matter which is a personal commentary on the inner workings of her families legacy made the approach to the song more passive aggressive after all this is how the majority of family dynamics seem in the south unless they are out in front of the trailer park beating each other with pots and pans.The song builds into an almost gospel fervor by the refrain at the end and pays off.
Miny's vocals being more aggressive vocals on "Whispering World" come across very Kylesa influenced and in some ways the rest of the song as a whole does as well.it has more drive than all the songs on the e.p. put together. Here is where an interesting point comes into play, as Royal Thunder flirts with what most consider metal, having spent the better part of the last year touring with bands vastly heavier than they are. With the road as a learning experience,they went back into studio like the old Charles cartoon from the 60's, where the kid on the beach gets sand kicked in his face so he goes home and works out to turn the tables on the bully. This album displays much muscle however, touring with a jam band might have given them similar treatment as they have com back with more sprawling offerings and most songs clocking in over the 7 minute mark.
Miny's ear for hooks and melodies give her the edge in songwriting,I welcome the return of rock god guitar soloing on the track shake and shift it creates too long of a bridge in between the more interesting melodic elements which play to the bands strength rather than the new Led Zeppelin moments. "Your No Good" doesn't really re-invent the wheel, a convincing blues shuffle attacks like the Mc5 paying more attention to melody. I really like the Tool-like chugged tension "Blue" opens with. The Concrete Blonde meets Black Sabbath comparisons on this album have been put to rest as I more 90's grunge than Sabbath.
The re-recorded version of "Sleeping Witch" utilizes a touch of subtle cello underlying the guitar, not my first pick of a song to re-visit from the e.p., but it must be a favorite of the band. Kylesa shading on the second songs aside one of the band's strong points is their sense of identity. They could have given into the temptation to conform to the climate of the Southeastern sludge scene. To the ear, they could care less about their neighbors Mastodon. The use of haunting melody in a song like "South of Somewhere" while more pervasive on the e.p. it's shown in good portion here. the use of vocal hooks as a dynamic build is also present though the shift in songwriting makes it not as much of the focal point as the on the e.p. Multiple listens indicates this is due to the fact the entire band converges more into one working unit than Miny having to be so far in the forefront to carry the songs. the jammed sections feel like there way of saying "Wow, we have been on the road doing this for a while now look we really are coming to our own as a band" The interplay of instruments is not only denser but more advanced here. I wouldn't call it progressive rock rock but more expansive.
I have said elsewhere Parsonz voice reminds me of Lita Ford particularly when belting into a higher register. This is somewhat dispelled on this album, and she has more time to explore a variety of vocal colors. Where the ballad "Minus" at the later portion of R album seems to be filler and it's only two minutes of it so it's by and large forgivable. My points of contention with the Royal Thunder's new album revolve around my own personal taste and what I wanted more of after the e.p and the live show gave me a taste of. Performance wise it's pretty solid."CVI captured what they set out to do with out flaw. The fact it's taking a while to work on me I can recognize as a good sign as most stuff I get quickly hooked on tends to have less staying power.
out of 10 I rate it an 8.5, not the saviors of rock as you know like Atlanta press might claim but they have produced a quality album and their brand of blues inflected rock is sure worth a listen of frat-crap like the Black Keys any day of my week.