Whenever I hear a good stoner rock album, I have this high that just comes over me. Pun intended. It takes over my body, and releases my mind out into the wilderness. It often joins forces with psychedelic rock and hard rock, to give it a trippy heaviness. Some of the best bands I have heard in recent years, have been majorly influenced by stoner rock, like Aboleth and Queens of the Stone Age to name a couple.
There is this one group out of Atlanta, GA., who have been making headway in this field. They are known to the world, as Royal Thunder. This is a band that originally formed around 2004, by guitarist Josh Weaver. They have been making traction in the music circuit, and they are only getting better. Royal Thunder has crafted their newest creation, Wick, and after listening to it, I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, and entering Wonderland. So my friends, turn off the lights, turn on your minds, and light up a joint. It is time to journey to Wonderland with me.
What turned me on the most about this album, was the raw, soulful voice of frontwoman Mlny Parsonz. She has an awesome set of pipes, that models after Janis Joplin, you can feel the sturdiness in her vocal ranges. Not only does have great range, that varies between sweet and rough, she plays a mean bass guitar. Weaver is very slick on the guitar; orchestrating solos that make you feel you are on an acid trip. His best lick is off of “The Sinking Chair,” he just wails the shit out of that solo. Combine that with the infectious riffs of rhythm player, Will Fiore and the brutal drumming of Evan Diprima, resulting with Royal Thunder creating something that is very special and ambitious.
They have written a fantastic display of powerful songs, that all have a variety of different arrangements. Each song has a hard rock feel, but they are also mixed with something a little extra. On the tune, “Push,” they bring some alternative rock substance. On the self-titled track, there’s some major influence in the psychedelic field. I particularly loved “April Showers,” because Parsonz brings out the big guns, and swings for the fences, with a gruff, heavy metal like singing. Royal Thunder reached deep into their creative psyche, and penned out gem hits, from “Anchor” to my personal favorite, “We Slipped.” The lyrics to “Tied” were devilishly charming, taking aim at a bad relationship, involving a manipulative, self-centered person. Where they get these ideas from is beyond my imagination.
I have to say, Royal Thunder never sounded better than they do with Wick. With a vocalist that is like the second coming of Janis Joplin, they can only go higher, from here on out. The songs, the musicianship, and the quality of the production of this album is staggering. I will admit, this is my first taste of Royal Thunder, but I am willing to go back, and take a big bite out of their earlier stuff. Parsonz and Weaver have formulated an album, that will be in my subconscious for many years. This is definitely one of the best hard rock albums of the year. To Royal Thunder, I salute you. Horns up!!! 9.5/10
By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
01. Burning Tree
02. April Showers
04. We Slipped
05. The Sinking Chair
11. The Well
12. We Never Fell Asleep
For more information on the band follow the links bellow: