Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)

Tuesday, 24th March 2015
Rating: 8/10

Royal Thunder aren’t long for this metal world, probably because in fact, they’re not really metal. With Relapse being the main (and only) tie, the Southern-bred rockers have enjoyed some resounding early success in the underground, jumping on piles of tours, popping up on magazine covers, etc. And for a female-fronted band without the bells and whistles (read: image is probably the last thing on Royal Thunder’s mind), there’s a certain amount of electricity to be found within the band’s sound. Their 2012 debut CVI was a resounding effort; Crooked Doors simply pushes the band along further, and perhaps, to the next level.

Bassist/vocalist Mlny Parsonz may be the most out-in-the-front aspect of Royal Thunder, but lest we forget their rhythm section and blues-soaked riffs. Essentially, the band is parading around as a classic rock band in disguise, and probably would serve as one if they came from said era. Royal Thunder’s ability to combine snap-tight arrangements with a degree of vintage persuasion is what pulls together enjoyable tunes like opener “Time Machine” (look out for Parsonz’s vocal performance here – it’s magnificent) as well as the two-part “The Bear I” and “The Bear II,” which highlights their swinging drum-bass combination, as well as the backwoods riff action the band is adept at channeling.

Personz, however, is Royal Thunder’s ace-in-the-hole, possessing a voice few can lay claim to at the moment. She’s certainly not one of those whisky-soaked, faux 70s types; rather, she’s got the pipes and attitude to kick out immense numbers such as “Wake Up” (probably her best performance here…even better than “Time Machine”) and “Forgive Me, Karma.” If she wasn’t an emerging name after the band’s first album, she will be after this. Heck, the same should apply for the entire band, who, if all were right and just in the world, would enjoy the same crossover success that Mastodon enjoyed roughly a decade ago.

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