Review : ROYAL THUNDER – "Royal Thunder"

Royal ThunderRoyal Thunder
Release: 2010Dec12 (US)
Label: Relapse
Rating: 4/5

This young Atlanta, Georgia trio actually released this self-titled EP back in 2009, however the most grindful Relapse Records saw fit to reissue it in late 2010. They seem to be shifting into slightly mellower territory these days, as these six sludgy songs coat the senses with not dissonant, but delicious harmonies.

It’s seven if you count the intro, and you may want to, since it sets up “Sleeping Witch” for a fuller attack on an anthropomorphized vice. They generate similar atmosphere on closer “Deacon”, the longest track here, shifting with graceful and deliberate movements. Hypnotic though Josh Weaver’s riffing may be, the magic seems to come from bassist/vocalist Mlny Parsonz, who also composes the lyrics. Something in her voice harks back to Courtney Love, but I imagine this girl with whiskey in her hand rather than a needle in her arm.

I was further entranced by “Low”— ostensibly a semi-autobiographical tale of lesbian love, subtly driven by Jesse Stuber’s drums. I’m interested to see who sings backup live, because I believe Parsonz is double-tracked. But one reason I really love debut EPs like these are the welcome repeat listens. I more strongly heard Weaver unleash a sly sliding guitar on “Grave Dance” and felt the brooding torment behind “Hotel Bend”—two songs that washed over me on early spins.

Royal Thunder is tough yet tender, like a good jerky, and every bit as savory (perhaps venison, judging by the antlers on the cover). The Peach State again proves a solid source for 21st-century heaviness. This should keep your tongues wagging until their LP drops later in 2011.

Try 2, 3, 4, 7

01. Intro
02. Sleeping Witch
03. Mouth of Fire
04. Low
05. Grave Dance
06. Hotel Bend
07. Deacon



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