CD Review: Royal Thunder – CVI; Playing The Earl on Saturday, May 26th

Royal Thunder
Relapse Records

By Ellen Eldridge

Atlanta locals Royal Thunder deserve the buzz that’s been building about them since the self-titled EP released in 2010. The four-piece confidently mixes everything loved by grunge and alternative fans in the ‘90s with a powerful progressive groove, colored by a bluesy soulful side. The lineup consists of lead guitarist and band founder Josh Weaver, Mlny Parsonz on bass/vocals, Lee Smith on drums and Josh Coleman on rhythm guitar.

From the opening of the first full-length release on Relapse Records, CVI, fans can hear the hypnotic and lulling force behind Royal Thunder. The fact that the band poured hard work and passion into CVI shows. Royal Thunder’s Mlny Parsonz says,

“There is still a fire burning in our bellies, and we can’t wait to continue to unleash the art within ourselves. This is the beginning of something we feel, is really beautiful. We look back on our past efforts and take with us the good, and strive to keep going and growing. We can’t wait to see what the future holds. We are forever thankful for everyone who has seen us through this amazing journey. And we hope this new album is an inspiration and light in the lives of everyone who listens to it.”

Right smack in the middle of CVI, the beginning drum roll, ever-increasing in speed and stability, builds “Blue” from what recalls Smashing Pumpkins to something that more closely resembles the feel of members of Puscifer jamming with the Grateful Dead, while “Sleeping Witch” calls up dark images with its title alone, but the addition of Matt Jarrard on cello spices the song with sullen strings that play opposite Parsonz’ plodding bass – like a cat waiting to pounce. The quiet vocals start slowly, giving an increased sense of tension that pulls at the listener. It feels like being trapped in seaweed while the water rises around you.

All ten tracks on CVI contain the ability to hypnotize and grab at fans like frenzied swimmers swallowed by the river. The thunder rolls through Parsonz’ bass and out her throaty voice like a tortured siren; this isn’t jam band music nor is it ‘Southern rock’ but a well-mixed smorgasbord lined up for fans’ consumption. Come out to The Earl on Saturday May 26 to consume Royal Thunder and head over to Relapse Records to buy CVI — out today, May 22.


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