Hard-rocking Atlanta quartet, Royal Thunder, brings their influence of classic-rock, southern blues and prog-metal to life in their first full length release, CVI. With unmistakable Sabbath guitar riffs and James Hetfield-style vocals, the response from the average metal freak will no doubt be positive. But once the figurative smoke clears from this firestorm of an album, there is potential for the listener to be left with an unsavory taste of déjà vu.
There is a theatrical template that Royal Thunder follows in nearly every song; the slow, assertive intro eventually reaches its dramatic climax only to fizzle out quietly into the darkness. This suspenseful arrangement is certainly powerful in the beginning. Sadly the album’s too predictable nature makes it lose steam rather quickly.
Vocalist Mlny Parsonz is the young band’s biggest asset. In fact, she is so much so that whenever the group decides to break down to one of its gothic-y jams, the result is often times an overdone, unnecessary space filler for something that could have easily been more effective.
The album’s major strength is in its opening tracks. “Parsonz Curse” and “Whispering World” set a pace that one would hope the remainder of the tracks would follow. A battle of psychedelic guitar playing and thunderous drumming leads to an explosion of distortion and doomy theatrics. But again there is too much open space where one wishes the band would just get to the point already.
Truthfully, the yawn factor sets in not long into the album. One can’t help but hear the ghosts of metal past in every aspect of the music. This leads me to believe that an album featuring one of rock’s strongest female lead-singers could easily have exchanged its meandering melodies for more of Parsonz sultry vocals.
Coming in at over an hour, CVI is simply too long. The musicians’ talent is supreme but its approach is unoriginal and imitative. Cut down the tracks’ time a bit and eliminate the needless jams and “CVII” could be a promising follow-up.