While Royal Thunder has always had an intriguing sound, they never seemed to quite live up to their potential. CVI and Crooked Doors are interesting albums thanks to the uniquely grunge-influenced psychedelic rock throughout, but they also seemed to be rather draining listens due to the slow burn tempos and somewhat sound-alike songwriting. Their third full-length album isn’t too drastically different, but something about it is more effective than their previous sets of breakup jams.
It certainly helps that Wick may be Royal Thunder’s most aggressive and energetic album to date. Vocalist/bassist Mlny Parsonz’s soulful howls continue to be the lightning rod electrifying songs like “The Well,” but the other musicians seem to have stepped up as well. The tempos are still pretty slow but Josh Weaver’s guitars are a lot more prominent and drummer Evan Diprima spends much less time in the background.
Songs like “The Sinking Chair” and “Turnaround” also stand out in the band’s repertoire for their more upbeat tempos. The former in particular almost sounds like it could’ve come from a W.A.S.P. album, but that may have more to do with Parsonz already sounding like a female Blackie Lawless…
But even though Wick is a heavier album than Crooked Doors, it retains much of the same outpouring of confessionals. Whether it be scaled back songs like “Tied” and “Plans” or the more driving rhythms on “We Slipped,” every song is packed with unhinged vocals delivering a series of armor-piercing lamentations. Some may deem the approach overwrought and it certainly borders on melodramatic at times, but the vocal delivery is far too human and the lyrics put a lot of fault on both parties discussed for that to be the case.
Wick isn’t as musically subtle as Royal Thunder’s first two albums, but the enduring emotions in combination with the more active musicianship results in the group’s most accessible album. The songwriting may be a little front loaded, but the album is enjoyable as a whole thanks to an amazingly emotional vocal performance being backed by one of the most unique styles in the genre. Definitely an album to have on standby next time you feel the need to have a sad montage.
“The Sinking Chair”
WICK is now available from Royal Thunder’s Merchnow shop .