Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Royal Thunder: Crooked Doors (2015)

Remember when Relapse only released metal albums? That was weird, huh?

Crooked Doors is the second album from Georgia hard rockers Royal Thunder. The style hasn’t changed much—bluesy rock and roll with a female vocalist oozing swagger and soul. But I hear a lot less doom influence this time around, and a few more radio-friendly elements (even some 90’s R&B) that are a little surprising. But just like CVI, it’s starts strong right out of the gate.

They bring the hooks with tunes like “Time Machine,” “Floor,” “The Line,” and “Glow.” Mlny Parsonz has a sultry, powerful voice, and she lays it all out there for you, to great effect. No surprises there, honestly. We already knew this was a good band, and they could do this.

However . . . even the good songs tend to go on a little longer than they need to. These are, properly speaking, four-minute songs, yet they go on between five and seven minutes. “And there he goes again, tallying up track lengths,” you might be saying. It’s not a good sign when I go there. I can deal with that. It’s a common enough error, but one that must be relentlessly rooted out.

In this album, as with the last one, they front-loaded the best songs. In this case, I appreciate that. I was listening to this one around the house, doing domesticated househusband stuff, and “One Day” was playing. My wife walked in and informed me it sounded exactly like some terrible mainstream radio ballad. She should know, because she listens to basically nothing but mainstream radio.* Parsonz brings some of that blood and fire in at the last minute, but it’s not enough to save it.

The closing duo of songs doesn’t do a lot to recapture the momentum. Really I could do without the last four songs. Royal Thunder sure as fuck know how to write and perform, but they need a good editor.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

*OK, to be fair, she also listens to the oldies.

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