Royal Thunder – CVI

Royal Thunder band

Royal Thunder torches stale rock landscape

Royal Thunder is not a new name around the Atlanta and Savannah metal scenes, but its high time for ears outside the South to hear the gloriously heavy racket the Atlanta rockers have made under the radar. If devastating rock is your particular brand of salvation, Royal Thunder is a band you cannot afford to overlook. Their outstanding debut album, CVI, dropped Tuesday courtesy of Relapse Records. CVI (Roman numeral for 106) is a towering example of what a heavy young band should be aiming for when establishing a name for themselves. They have Southern metal chops and can shift towards prog in a flash.  A roaring rhythm section lays down a full-on assault between singer Mlny Parsonz on bass and Lee Smith on drums. On the tree-trunk legs of six-minute-plus songs that crescendo and detonate, Royal Thunder provides a monster riff showcase for the band’s founder, Josh Weaver on guitar, and Parsonz’s wholly commanding siren wails. Royal Thunder’s furious debut drops the aural equivalent of a nuclear bomb on an often stale 21st Century hard rock landscape.

Mlny Parsonz goes from spoken word growls to audacious and ear-splintering Robert Plant-like howls on a dime. At its finest, which is uniform for the majority of CVI, Royal Thunder calls to mind a Black Sabbath fronted by PJ Harvey at her most ferociously unhinged. There’s more than a shade of Sleater-Kinney and Mastodon‘s firepower here, too. This is a band blazing on fuel-injected cylinders with a degree in all things heavy: Southern metal, classic rock and prog, all the while retaining the capacity and skills to emerge as a badass rock and roll band and not yet another uninventive, amateur metal band or spawn of late ’90s radio rock. CVI‘s strongest moments are barn-burning rockers harking back to Sabbath’s apocalyptic shredding with a band who can send the sound into a bluesy, Zeppelinesque stratosphere.

If there is a detractor on CVI, it’s that Royal Thunder goes to the prog well once or twice too often in the back half of the album. Maybe 45 or 50 minutes of merciless riffage and gutsy howls would better serve the band than an hour flanked by a few excess minutes of prog detours. However, scouring CVI with a fine-toothed comb, searching for fault enough why this isn’t a momentous, tour de force of Southern hard rock, is ludicrous once you’ve heard the album. Its peaks – and they are plentiful – may very well be the best heavy rock and roll you’ll hear in all of 2012. Don’t sleep on Royal Thunder, because they will be around for years to come.

Standout songs: “No Good,” “Blue,” “Whispering World”


Royal Thunder:
Mlny Parsonz – vocals/bass
Josh Weaver – guitar
Lee Smith -drums
Josh Coleman – rhythm guitar

2012 Tour Dates
w/ Valient Thorr and Holy Grail

May 26 Atlanta, GA The Earl (*Record Release Show)
June 10 Richmond, VA Strange Matter
June 12 Huntington, WV V Club
June 13 Pittsburgh, PA The Smiling Moose
June 14 Lancaster, PA Chameleon Club
June 16 Allston, MA Great Scott
June 17 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
June 19 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop
June 20 Chicago, IL Double Door
June 21 Detroit, MI Small’s
June 22 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
June 23 Madison, WI The Frequency
June 24 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
June 26 Lincoln, NE Rye Room @ Bourbon Theatre
June 27 Denver, CO The Marquis Theater
June 28 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue
June 29 Boise, ID Neurolux
June 30 Seattle, WA El Corazon
July 1 Portland, OR The Star Theatre
July 2 Sparks, NV The Alley
July 3 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
July 5 Los Angeles, CA The Down & Out
July 6 San Diego, CA The Casbah
July 7 Santa Ana, CA The Constellation Room @ The Observatory
July 10 Phoenix, AZ Rhythm Room
July 12 Colorado Springs, CO The Black Sheep
July 13 Omaha, NE Sokol Underground
July 14 Columbia, MO Mojo’s
July 15 Indianapolis, IN Birdy’s Live
July 18 Chattanooga, TN JJ’s Bohemia
July 19 Charlotte, NC Chop Shop

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