Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors

By Andrew Bansal

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Atlanta, Georgia’s Royal Thunder released their debut full-length ‘CVI’ in 2012, an album that can be truly hailed as one of the most beautiful efforts in psychedelic hard rock to have surfaced in recent history. In the three years that followed, the band toured endlessly to present these tunes on stages worldwide, but somewhere during that period, found the time and inclination for further creativity which has resulted in a new album called ‘Crooked Doors’, released in April 2015 via Relapse Records. For listeners that found themselves captivated by ‘CVI’, it was hard to detach from that album and give ‘Crooked Doors’ a fair chance, but Royal Thunder’s newest creation has finally sinked in.

The combination of singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz’ voice and the instrumentation by herself and her band mates is nothing short of spine-chilling on ‘CVI’. Royal Thunder attempts to achieve the same result on ‘Crooked Doors’ but through a varied approach and an evolved musical style. As is evident from the opening tunes ‘Time Machine’, ‘Forget You’ and ‘Wake Up’, there is greater focus on melody, and on utilizing the singing voice to the maximum. That being said, the instrumental mastery is still present and is skillfully intertwined with the ever-changing textures of Parsonz’ voice. For old-fashioned music listeners that like to absorb entire albums as opposed to singles, these first three tracks are crucial in convincing one to continue listening, and the sonic traits exhibited on them are certainly carried with much conviction through the entirety of the 11-track effort.

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The meat of Crooked Doors comprises compelling tunes ‘Floor’, ‘The Line’ and ‘Glow’, while ‘Forgive Me, Karma’, ‘Ear On The Fool’ and ‘One Day’ showcase some of the finest guitar work on the album, and it all comes to a somber end with ‘The Bear’ parts 1 and 2. Crooked Doors on the whole is catchier and more vocal-oriented than CVI, but is simultaneously also a much darker, emotional and thought-provoking effort. It’s as much Fleetwood Mac as it is Led Zeppelin. The blend of these characteristics should bring greater commercial success for Royal Thunder in the upcoming phase of their career, but for the most part, does not alienate fans of their past work.

Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder take a positive evolutionary step while still staying firmly planted in their musical roots.

Rating: 8.5/10

Record Label: Relapse

Release Date: April 7th 2015

Track Listing:
01. Time Machine
02. Forget You
03. Wake Up
04. Floor
05. The Line
06. Forgive Me, Karma
07. Glow
08. Ear On The Fool
09. One Day
10. The Bear I
11. The Bear II

Links: facebook | twitter | instagram

Desecrate – Of Death And Damnation

By Andrew Bansal

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Los Angeles heavy metal quartet Desecrate have been toiling hard in local circles for what seems like an eternity. They’ve remained consistently prolific in terms of live performances at any and every club around town and occasionally elsewhere, but when it comes to releasing new music, there has always much deliberation, thought and planning behind it. Three years after they put out their sophomore full-length ‘At The Edge Of Sanity’, they self-released their third LP ‘Of Death And Damnation’ in March 2015. It’s an album that does not limit itself to any sub-genre definitions but one that succeeds in defining the musical personality of this band better than any of their past studio efforts and firmly puts them on a map that extends beyond the city of Los Angeles. Continue reading

Raven – ExtermiNation

By Andrew Bansal

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Over the past four decades, Americanized British old-school heavy metal cult legends Raven have carried themselves through thick and thin with unmatchable determination, drive and passion, fully embodying their self-created ‘rock until you drop’ ethos. But equally importantly, the trio of John Gallagher (vocals & bass), Mark Gallagher (guitar) and Joe Hasselvander (drums) have continually nurtured their creative abilities that have enabled them to stay relevant in the modern-day, wherein countless bands exist and an endless plethora of music is available at the click of a button. Six years after the release of their 2009 effort ‘Walk Through Fire’, Raven are ready with their thirteenth full-length studio album ‘ExtermiNation’, funded via a Kickstarter campaign and set to be unleashed to masses worldwide in late April 2015. Continue reading

Enforcer – From Beyond

By Andrew Bansal

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Stepping into the second decade of their career, Swedish traditional heavy metal warriors Enforcer are ready with the follow-up to their captivating third studio full-length ‘Death By Fire’ which was released in 2013. The new creation ‘From Beyond’ has already been unveiled in Europe and the UK via Nuclear Blast, and awaits its April 7 US release on the same label. ‘Death By Fire’ is undeniably one of the finest efforts to have graced the genre in recent times and counts as a crucial contribution to the revival and conservation of the continuously diminishing realm of clean-singing heavy metal. Enforcer had a task-and-a-half on their hands, carrying the burden of their own creative achievements. But fans and followers had a feeling they would live up to the¬†standards they’ve set, and with ‘From Beyond’, it appears that they have done so. Continue reading

The Unravelling – Revolt (Single)

By Andrew Bansal

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Following a stellar, acclaimed 2010 debut full-length effort ’13 Arcane Hymns’, Canadian industrial/ambient heavy rock duo The Unravelling were forced into a hiatus because of vocalist Steve Moore’s battle with cancer. But due to his full recovery, The Unravelling are active once again and have returned with a sense of purpose. Their new single ‘Revolt’ is set for an independent April 25 release, and clearly expresses their past inner turmoils through their musical talent.

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Heavy on synth but still focussing on the guitar sound to a large extent, ‘Revolt’ maintains a strong hard rock/metal vibe and raises itself head and shoulders above other industrial projects that get carried away with the synth layers and kill the guitars almost completely. The music is fully composed and produced by Gustavo de Beauville, and combines fluently with Steve Moore’s vocal delivery. The tense buildup evident in the tune as it progresses through its four-minute duration is pleasantly reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, and portrays a style of musicianship that would be instantly appreciated by fans of not only that band but others like Tool, Nine Inch Nails and Faith No More. ‘Revolt’ is The Unravelling’s triumphant return.

Rating: 9/10

Release Date: April 25th 2015

Links: facebook | bandcamp

Unfathomed Of Abyss – Arisen Upon Oblivion

By Andrew Bansal

Texas-based multi-instrumentalist and musical visionary Kevin Price has been creating and compiling richly layered extreme metal music for the past fourteen years, and has finally been able to release this set of compositions under the moniker Unfathomed Of Abyss. Titled ‘Arisen Upon Oblivion’, nearly hour-long offering was released independently on October 8th 2014, and even amidst a vast plethora of new albums put out by bands in a genre that seems to be enjoying a tremendous wave of popularity amongst metalheads all over the planet, Price’ effort does not go unnoticed and offers something unique. Continue reading