December 29, 2015 Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Album Review)
With a fusion of Grunge, Classic, Psychedelic, and Progressive Rock sound, Atlanta, Georgia’s Royal Thunder has been building up a solid fanbase since their inception in 2004. The story began when Josh Weaver formed the band; initially with his brother and best friend. Over the years, the band lineup has changed and the current lineup includes Josh Weaver on guitar, MLny Parsonz on vocals/bass/piano, Evan Diprima on drums, as well as Will Fiore on guitar. Together, their sound transcends the boundaries of the decades, blending together years of influence into a Progressive Rock sound that is both fresh and nostalgic at the same time.
In 2007, Royal Thunder released their self-titled debut EP and began touring shortly after. Upon signing with Relapse Records in 2010, they officially re-released their titular EP to help the mainstream get a better understanding of who they are. Then, in 2012, they released their first full-length debut, CVI, earning them acclaim from those in the music industry. Shortly after completing the album, Drummer Jesse Stuber left the band and they were joined by both Lee Smith on drums and Josh Coleman on guitar while touring in the US. Once Evan Diprima joined the crew as their current drummer, Royal Thunder expanded their travels and toured throughout North America and Europe, thus helping expose themselves to a broader audience. Now in 2015, they return with a powerful brand new album, entitled Crooked Doors.
The sophomore effort opens with Diprima tapping away on the cymbals with the steady walking bass in the background, providing a great opening to “Time Machine.” Parsonz’ haunted vocals engages the listener as she captures the pain found in the lyrics. The longest track in the album, at seven minutes, this song has a melancholic motivational element as Parsonz sings about moving on. It prepares the listener for the auditory experience of the rest of the album. Then, “Forget You” is a moody piece about not giving in. Parsonz’ howling vocals resonates with Weaver’s guitar style while her bass play provides a solid backdrop to the track. Weaver and Fiore display their skill in “Wake Up,” starting with a flowing, continuous sound that shifts gears halfway through to make way for guitar solos, only to switch around tempo and pull at the heartstrings with a sound that can cause one to get lost in reverie. Coming on with a more angry and anguished song is “Floor,” expressed through the raw and engaging vocals of Parsonz while Weaver’s guitar play is both contrasted by and works amazingly well with Fiore’s. Afterwards, “The Line” opens with an edgy Rock guitar sound along with moody vocals and Weaver’s bluesy guitar sound, making this piece an intense Grunge/Blues Rock cut filled with pain and angst.
The Psychedelic Rock sound comes to the forefront with “Forgive Me, Karma,” beginning with a long intro. Here, Parsonz’ vocals are reminiscent of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane while Psychedelic guitar and drums saturate the track, creating the atmosphere and mood. Shifting gears, “Glow” has a Southern Rock sound with Diprima dropping a steady drumbeat while Parsonz’ lets loose on vocals as she provides a walking bass. This is followed by “Ear On The Fool,” which opens with an amazing Prog-Rock guitar provided by Weaver and Fiore while Parsonz’ haunting and lingering vocals captures the lyric’s state of indecision and uncertainty.
Approaching a power ballad style, “One Day” contains slow rhythms while dominated by Parsonz’ vocals. The tempo maintains a slow, Prog-Rock sound in “The Bear I” as Parsonz’ vocals take on a raw bluesy sound. Backed by the steady guitar and drums, the song has a good-kind of sleepy quality to it. Then, Matt Gerard joins in on the cello in “The Bear II” as Parsonz displays her musical talents on the piano while her vocals takes on a delicate and pained quality as the album comes to a close.
Released back in April of 2015, Crooked Doors is a display of Royal Thunder’s range of musical talents. MLny Parsonz’ vocal range throughout this album is quite amazing; while Josh Weaver shifts flawlessly between the various genres of Rock guitar. This is one release that should not be passed up by any true Rock -n- Roll lover. CrypticRock gives Crooked Doors 4 out of 5 stars.