By Rose Riot
Every year at the new year, I publish a list of my favorite rock shows for the previous year. This year, I titled my list, "I didn't see it coming." It was my top five live shows that I didn't expect to love and did. On that list was the band Royal Thunder. They are fellow Atlantans like myself and I had been hearing for a couple of years some buzz about them through friends...
One night last year as an after thought, I went to see a show that one of my friends was promoting and Royal Thunder was the headliner. The place was packed with local die-hard fans and smoke machine fog. I could barely get close to the stage and shooting through the fog was a photographic challenge. Had I not been completely captivated by the band, I would have for sure retreated to my home. Instead, I stayed hypnotized by the slow and grindy metal covered in a cloud of fake smoke that poured from the stage. Ever since then, when anyone asks my opinion of an Atlanta band that I think will make it, my answer without thinking is, "Royal Thunder." That was the first and only time I've seen them (so far) and I have craved them.
It is no surprise that Royal Thunder's latest full album release CVI is easily my favorite album of the year. CVI has a little something for everyone. You like good old fashion rock and roll then listen to "Whispering World." You like metal then listen to the 9minute 14 second track "Shake and Shift." You like acoustic then listen to "Minus" There all kinds of sound surprises like opening song drumrolls, wind-chimes and spaghetti western twangy guitar throughout the whole musical painting known as CVI. Singer, Mlny Parzons has a voice that reminds me of a Henry Rollins' quote,“Girls aren't beautiful, they're pretty."
Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know they have lost something and picked up something else.” Mlny's voice is too heavy to be pretty but it is damn sure beautiful. She is joined by Josh Weaver (lead guitar), Josh Coleman (rhythm guitar) and Lee Smith (drums).
Smith at times creates tsunami's of sound with his percussion and both guitarists deliver a vulnerability and passion to the 10 tracks on CVI. The four talents of Royal thunder almost brought me to tears with the haunting track, Drown. Royal Thunder makes tactile music. It's rough, smooth, sharp and soft all at the same time.
Royal Thunder will kick off a US tour on May 26, 2012 just days after the release of CVI on May 22. The band will be joined by Valient Thorr and Holy Grail on all but the Atlanta show, it is there that I will finally get to feed my craving for Royal Thunder. The album can be preordered here: http://www.relapse.com/label/artist/royal-thunder.html.
(Rose Riot is a photographer in Atlanta and contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine.)