Release Date: Apr 7, 2017
Record label: Spinefarm Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
At this point in their career, Royal Thunder have been through a lot together. Following the release of their critically acclaimed sophomore album Crooked Doors in 2015, the divorce and subsequent working relationship between primary songwriter/guitarist Josh Weaver and bassist/vocalist Mlny Parsonz became a well-documented topic of discussion. The vulnerability and emotional angst that saturated the record was an enticing catalyst for media speculation, with some critics even drawing comparisons to Fleetwood Mac's legendary album, Rumours.
Over the course of the last decade, Royal Thunder have carved their own path through the rock world by defying easy categorization. On their third album, the Georgia-based quartet venture even further into their own by creating songs that are alternately bluesy, soulful and propulsive--and often all three. Led by dynamo vocalist/bassist Mlny Parsonz and multifaceted guitar wizard Josh Weaver, the band conjure tales of heartbreak, soul-searching and regret--most notably on the serpentine single "April Showers," chiming psychedelic opener "Burning Tree" and the gorgeous acoustic ballad "Plans." It's rare to come across a band that can do so much so well.
After five tracks of soaring, gut-punching hard rock, Royal Thunder's third full-length collapses in the best way possible. The band make a U-turn on "Plans," a soulful, stirring ballad about feeling lost after a relationship's end. Frontwoman Mlny Parsonz - whose raspy, powerful wail is one of the most moving voices in rock right now - sounds as though she's banging her head against a wall in frustration as she pleads, "Come back." On any other record, it could come off like an Adele torch song, thanks to its ethereal "ohh" background vocals, or something by Alabama Shakes with its southern looseness, but there's a fragile earnestness in the way Parsonz pleads with her lover that makes the song unique.