I actually wasn’t that big a fan of Royal Thunder’s debut, CVI, when I first heard it. I gave it a cursory listen, and quickly determined that they were a buncha Led Zeppelin wannabes playing Reverend Bizzare-length snoozers who threw in a female singer for added media attention. But then I saw them play live, on a Tuesday night back in 2012, and they finally clicked with me… to the point where I’m actually gonna bother reviewing their sophomore release.
Not that they’ve discovered brevity on Crooked Doors—the average song length here is somewhere around five-and-a-half minutes. I guess you could say these songs take some time to gestate or germinate, as “Time Machine” slowly builds up into a decent mid-paced chorus that elicits no Zeppelin comparisons from me. Hell, if anything, it gives off a bit of a The Gathering vibe, from back when they were still kinda considered metal.
That said, most of these numbers are right between five and six minutes, as they’ve cut back on the feedback that dominated their debut release. But despite the addition of Zoroaster axeman Will Fiore, I’ve yet to hear a riff that really kicks me in the nutsack after the first few tracks. On the other hand, I think I might have actually heard their song “Floor” (nothing to do with the noise-rockers) on that self-titled Blues Pills record last year…
Unfortunately, it appears that album number two isn’t really clicking with me, either. It seems they’ve polished the raw power of the debut to the point where it’s not particularly palatable anymore. Not naming any names, but they wouldn’t be the first Relapse artist from the Peach State to go soft on me, either… 🙁