A lot of hard rock is admittedly uplifting and all about fun and good times – and nothing wrong with that – but every now and then a hard rock band comes by and reminds us that this genre can indeed be a vehicle of expression of darker emotions. Royal Thunder is one of those bands, and in CVI they have created an authentic piece of heavy and dark southern hard rock.
On this album, Royal Thunder play dark hard rock with a certain retrospective feel to it, looking back to the psychedelia of the '70s, but without all the flower power. It is more like doom power. The tracks on the album are, you see, generally quite heavy, at times nearing doom metal tempos, and consistently having a sludgy touch to them, drawing primarily on crushing old school heavy rock riff. I guess that doom rock or sludge rock would be a suitable description for the dark and heavy hard rock on the album. Tracks like 'Parsonz Curse', 'South of Somewhere', 'Drown', and 'Blackwater Vision' are oozing with doom-laden darkness, and 'Sleeping Witch' is a wonderfully heavy and dark blues song with references to the mighty Black Sabbath, while 'No Good' is a groovy hard rocker full of whiskey-induced swagger and trippy aggression. This is not to say that CVI is completely void of melody, but just that heaviness is in focus. Check for instance 'Shake and Shift' or 'Blue' for a sample of Royal Thunder's approach to melody.
With a touch of psychedelia and songs often clocking in at seven, eight, and nine minutes, CVI definitely also has a progressive touch to it, and there are also sections that remind me of the introvert alternative rock and alternative metal of the 1990s. On top of that, the album is full of hard rocking swagger and southern grooves. The musicianship is impeccable, and the heavy drumbeats and bluesy guitar figures go hand in hand with Miny Parsonz' powerful and raw vocals.
Simply a near-masterpiece of southern darkness, CVI should appeal to fans of doom metal, sludge metal, southern rock, psychedelic rock, alternative rock/metal and dark and heavy blues-rock along the lines of Dickie Peterson's Child of Darkness. Do not hesitate to buy this album and immerse yourself in the darkness of its heavy grooves and long songs.
1. Parsonz Curse
2. Whispering World
3. Shake and Shift
5. Sleeping Witch
6. South of Somewhere
9. Black Water Vision