Posted on April 2nd, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Magdalene Taylor

Atlanta’s Royal Thunder have taken their second album, Crooked Doors, as an opportunity to move deeper into a place of bluesy psychedelic rock. Their first full-length album, CVI, took on a stronger force of heavy rock with moments of trancey undertones. While Crooked Doors holds on to the heavy rock, it pulls these trancey undertones to the forefront. Though a few tracks succumb to the repetitiveness of moodiness, there is progressive-power-rock strength to the entire album. Just like on their first album, frontwoman Mlny Parsonz steals the show.

The album opens with “Time Machine,” which sounds a whole lot like Rush. It’s mid-tempo prog rock with high, expressive but smooth vocals that absolutely can not be ignored. The album moves away from sounding like Rush rather quickly, but the quality of the vocals remains the same. “Forget You” and “Wake Up” follow, pushing a slower, dreamier quality that maintains an edge. This seems to define the baseline of the album. The rest of the album seems primarily defined by its ability to conform or contrast to these tracks, with no direction being objectively better than the other. Most songs, however, at least contain some element of this mood, even if they maintain a more steady rock structure to them, as in “Ear On The Fool.” A notable exception to this is “Glow,” which is more fully categorized as a Southern heavy rock song much like some of the tracks on CVI.

Some of the tracks hold on to the dreamy moodiness, but stand out by simply doing something totally different. “Forgive Me, Mr. Karma,” for example, is a vocal-less equivalent to sitting in an opium den. Closing tracks, “The Bear I” and “The Bear II,” entirely lack any hint of heaviness, and instead utilize a soft, partially jazzy, partially indie rock tone. Mlny Parsonz' vocals are softer here, only momentarily taking on the power-rock force they do in other songs. It’s an unusual closing to the album, but it works surprisingly well. If anything, it is an additional display of Parsonz' talents, which is really what the entire album seems to be. With the magnitude of her voice, Royal Thunder can’t help but stand out. However, it’s hard to say that Crooked Doors would stand up without her.

Track List

  1. Time Machine
  2. Forget You
  3. Wake Up
  4. Floor
  5. The Line
  6. Forgive Me, Mr. Karma
  7. Glow
  8. Ear on the Fool
  9. One Day
  10. The Bear I
  11. The Bear II
Royal Thunder - Crooked Doors Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

68 / 100
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