Recently released via Spinefarm Records, Wick is the third full length studio album from Atlanta based outfit Royal Thunder.
Royal Thunder formed back in 2004 originally and have gone through numerous line up transformations before settling with the current line up of Mlny Parsonz on vocals, bass and piano, Josh Weaver and Will Fiore on guitar and Evan Diprima on drums.
I’ve been wrestling with the dilemma of pigeon-holing Royal Thunder into one genre for the purposes of this review. I’ve failed miserably. These guys are heavily rock influenced but aren’t quite metal. There’s a strong blues influence to their music. There’s a 90’s grunge vibe to their music. There’s no denying their Southern Rock roots and there’s even a hint of gospel in there too.
At first listen this twelve track album didn’t really grab me. However, (now humour me here, please) it’s a bit like an onion. With every listen, another layer is revealed and then another and another…..
Wick deals with a lot of deep powerful emotions and is not always the most uplifting of albums. During the recording phase, three of the band members lost their fathers and the songs that Royal Thunder have presented here are open and honest and emotional.
This record take you through all the emotions on the grief curve from the loss and hurt to the acceptance and healing of these open wounds.
Burning Tree opens the record with a hypnotic riff and almost chanted opening vocals. It’s a sonorous start.
With April Showers, the first single from Wick, proceedings take on a more haunted feel. Strong Fleetwood Mac vibes here as front woman Mlny Parsonz channels her inner Stevie Nicks. This track simmers with tension. Love it!
We Slipped is perhaps the most radio friendly track on Wick. A contender to be the second single perhaps? With its strong chorus this one is sure to be a fan favourite in the live arena.
The vibe changes yet again on The Sinking Chair as Royal Thunder deliver a heavier rock sound with a hint of Led Zeppelin shining through. At times it sounds as though the vocal is more shouted than sung. Sounds a bit forced but the angst of the song lends itself to it.
Plans may be my personal favourite track on Wick. There’s beautiful stripped back performances by both Josh Weaver and Will Fiore here. Plans is a heart wrenching blues based ballad. Subtle yet powerful drumming by Evan Diprima provides a heartbeat to this song. This, in my humble opinion, is Mlny at her best. Her vocal performance is straight from her very soul. Think Janis Joplin and Robert Plan combined at their very best. Stunning song.
Push is another emotional and brooding ballad-esque track. There’s an ait of melancholy to it but a sense of hope too. Have we reached acceptance on our grief curve?
The final track is We Never Fell Asleep. If I had to describe this track in one word it would be anger. This is a superbly powerful anthem to round off proceedings. There’s just bit more of an aggressive almost defiant edge to the performances of all four members of Royal Thunder here. We Never Fell Asleep comes to a climax with ethereal gospel vocals. Have we finally healed on our journey through grief?
This is a powerful album. You can’t take it all in with just one or two listens. It needs to burn slowly and warm the embers of your soul. Love it!