[Album Review] Royal Thunder ‘CVI’

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Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the four-piece Royal Thunder, together since 2007, cut their teeth with an EP released in late 2009 and several tours alongside Kylesa, Wovenhand. Birds Of Avalon, and many more. Now they are back with their first full-length album CVI, an album that proudly shows their Southern heritage. But does it hit as hard as they wish or does it fall flat? Find out below.

Opening with “Parsonz Curse”, which clocks in at over seven minutes, the album already demands your attention. It’s an unassuming opening, one that left me in doubt. But as the song progressed, so to did my interest increase. The song kept adding intensity and aggression, becoming more and more interesting and engaging. It was only after listening to several more songs did I realize that this song is the perfect opener, gently leading the listener in rather than bashing them over the head.

The album continues to get better and better with each following track. Some personal favorites of mine were “Shake And Shift”, which features some thick, chunky guitar riffs. It was also in this song that I realized that singer Miny Parsonz sounds like a stronger, angrier, more intense Gwen Stefani.

Another track I thoroughly enjoyed was “Blue”, which begins the first few minutes as an instrumental. The instruments play beautifully off of each other, wonderful melodies shining out of the sludgy stoner rock riffage. Clocking in at nine-and-a-half minutes, this song takes its time, building layer upon layer, including some beautiful vocal harmonies towards the middle.

Then there is “South Of Somewhere”, which I felt was the best track on the album. Beginning with wind chimes and gongs, there is something decidedly eerie and haunting about this song. When the guitars and vocals come in, this spookiness is only amplified.

Production-wise, CVI is raw and dirty, just the way it should be. If this album had a clean, polished air about it, it would have lost a great deal of its impact. Rather, by leaving some amplifier hum, cymbal sizzle, and tempo changes, this album feels like something that I would listen to and then shower immediately afterwards, not regretting a single moment.

The Final Word: Royal Thunder’s CVI begins as a heavily southern sludge rock/metal album and progresses into something bigger, something much more sinister. To be perfectly frank, it is a Southern sludge masterpiece. Consider this band firmly placed on my map of artists I need to watch very closely.

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