Released: 2010, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
“Heavy” is an adjective that’s open to wide interpretation, especially within the context of music. Relapse Records continues to broaden its roster with acts that are less genre specific than they are “heavy.” Atlanta’s Royal Thunder is the latest of such signings, a female fronted power trio that’s hard to describe in any other way but to say “heavy.” The band’s self-titled EP is a dark effort that weaves elements of downtrodden doom, Doors-influenced blues, and some genuinely accessible alt-rock pieces.
“Sleeping Witch” is like waking up the morning after an all-night bender. It opens up soft and cautious, greeting the sunlight with trepidation as the throbbing in your head begins to slowly intensify. “Mouth of Fire” has a bouncy, dirty blues hook to it that dances with the swagger of a drunken barfly. “Low” and “Grave Dance” both carry a dark undertone, but sound like a more angst filled version of 70’s-era Heart (yes, Heart used to write some powerful stuff back in the day – open your minds dammit). “Hotel Bend” and “Deacon” are both pervasively sad tunes that really capitalize on Miny Parsonz’ vocal harmonies. Speaking of Miny, this lady is the real deal. She’s got an amazingly powerful delivery that shakes you from within. When wailed her tales of woe with her throaty Joplin like voice, I felt what she was feeling.
Is Royal Thunder a metal band? Mmmm…probably not by traditional standards, but if you ask me if they’re heavy, I’ll unequivocally answer “yes” to that every time. Though it’s being promoted as an EP, ROYAL THUNDER clocks in around 33 minutes, and it felt like a fairly full release. It’s a powerful collection of tunes that continues to resonate with the listener once the strains of “Deacon” fade away. If you’re into broader stuff like Zoroaster, Neurosis, early Pentagram, etc. you may find Royal Thunder to be right up your alley.