Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Royal Thunder : "Crooked Doors"
This band continues to evolve from the blues soaked stoner rock, they have put the Black Sabbath albums away and now have become more of an indie rock band that takes on a rough edged hard rock dynamic. On the opener "Time Machine" which the band premiered on Npr, Parsonz puts some angry husk to her voice when the band begins to climax toward the end of the song. This is followed up by the first song the band released from the album "Forget You" which has a post-grunge chug typical of more radio friendly hard-rock bands. In some ways this songs has the ebb and flow of an Alice in Chains song. They have some interesting layers of atmosphere floating behind some of the more meaty riffs. I like the pipe flexing on the refrain of "You better run for your life".
They back off on " Wake Up" and display matured depth to their song writing. It has a very classic rock feel on what might be the chorus, but Weaver's guitar playing is really what shines on this one. His soloing on this album has a very Jerry Cantrell feel. The blues returns but by way of the British invasion on "Floor". This is a little more upbeat than what I have come to expect from the band. This song clearly displays what a difference the change of drummers has made. It darkens slightly in the solo section and broods there for a bit. The song ends with some really fantastic vocal layering.
" The Line" is another song the band leaked earlier. It is a pretty straight forward rock song, a little more drive to it than the previous song. The song winds into a creeping western riff. "Forgive Me Karma" has a psychedelic ring to it. Parsonz's melody snakes into the guitar line and then relaxes with with the song's lazy bong fueled drift until it's time for her to unlock her inner rock goddess. The song uses restraint to keep it's foot off the monitor.
The bands blues tendencies rears up in a much different way on the rambling "Glow" . The band continues to explore new sounds on the dizzying riff featured on "Ear on a Fool" that leans toward an almost progressive side. But it's when the band backs off an allows her to really have more room to build melodies that the song excels. Parsonz vocals are no doubt one of the albums strengths , however it's not her caterwauling that's the most impressive it's the more introspective moments like "One Day" that almost holds a power ballad like quality.The harmonized double tracked vocals make this my favorite song on the album.
The album closes with the two-part "the Bear". The first is a mellow affair, that has a torch song theatricality to it. The second part is even more fragile with Miny accompanied by subtle strings and a piano singing with a purer tone . This songs feels like something Jeff Buckley would have done.The band was never fully committed to being a metal band even they they had a fetish for playing with metal bands , but they have taken another step away from metal with this album. This is not a bad thing as the new direction lends it's self to a compelling array of sounds and emotive glimpses into who this band is. I'll round it up to a 9.5 and see how it sits with me for the rest of the year.