There are times when fate intervenes in ones life to bring sweet surprises. Upon arriving to Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar for The Dillinger Escape Plan show to find out that The Faceless would not be performing due to their van breaking down, I entered the facility with disappointment and concern for fellow Pittsburgh resident and lead singer for The Faceless, Geoffrey Ficco. Then I was hit with a droning sound reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Kyuss, and Wizard. I quickly grabbed my camera and starting snapping pictures of the band I came to find out was Royal Thunder.
Royal Thunder’s debut full length ‘CVI’ (roman numeral 106) is a mix of psych/prog/metal that is fueled by singer and bassist Mlny Parsonz’ sultry voice and Lemmy style bass playing. Imagine the talent of Stevie Nicks with a metal voice and the power chord bass heaviness plowing from the speakers backed by blues based rock that hearkens back to classic rock ‘thunder’ from the seventies greats. From the very opening of ‘CVI’ the ears are reminded of those primal sounds that we hold so dear to our hearts with first tune, ‘Parsonz Curse’. Hard, heavy, pounding, and crescendo building, it’s an excellent introduction to what lays ahead…a no B.S. LP that’s solid from beginning to end.
The guitar work of Josh Weaver is not only strong and superbly riff oriented, it is heavily rooted in the greats of the genre, no trash, no flash, just pure crunch and doom nicely layered with Josh Coleman’s rhythm guitar work. It’s a combination reminiscent of the Young brothers of AC/DC fame (even down to some Gibson SG use). Combine this with Lee Smith holding down the low end with percussion work that fits quite nicely in an age that relies too heavily on what effects can do or how fast double bass drums move and it’s a refreshing reminder of why metal has ruled since the inception of the genre.
This is not an LP to download in bits an pieces, please grab the entire thing and play from start to finish like you did when you were young, or like your parents did. It’s a gorgeous throwback with a new edge that you will love turning your friends onto and telling them you discovered them first. If you are lucky enough to see them live they absolutely do not disappoint and will make you a true believer like they made out of us here at Pittsburgh Music Mag.
Highlights: “No Good”, “Parsonz Curse”, “Black Water Vision”
If you like: Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk
“blues-infused rock ‘n’ roll, wrapped in protective barbed-metal packaging”– Paste Magazine
“a revved-up Southern hard-rocker that howls like Led Zeppelin astride a psychedelic unicorn.” – NPR.org
“Recommended for all fans of straight up, non-ironic hard rock. And we all know the world needs more of this kind of thing right now.”– Verbicide
“Royal Thunder deliver blues-y doom riffs fronted by a smokey female voice… think Black Math Horseman or Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde fronting Black Sabbath.”– BrooklynVegan
“Atlanta’s Royal Thunder make mystical and muscular heavy metal in the classic, pre-“extreme” vein…a variety of awesome we haven’t seen in ages.” – Nashville Scene
“Parsonz’ vocals are slithering and over the top, deep and throaty, the riffs distorted, the drums crashing in…the heaviest seventies hard rock jam you never heard, the hooks perfect, the vocals, so BAD ASS.” -Aquarius Records