Bluesy rock ballads abound on Royal Thunder’s new album, Crooked Doors. The album throws the listener into a volatile, but self-assured emotional maelstrom belted out by lead singer, Miny Parsonz. Set to melancholy, yet hopeful guitars and jazzy drums, each song is set up to both rend and soothe a listener’s soul. Many have classified the band as occult or psychedelic rock, however, neither of these genres fully encompasses the awesome sound they put forth.
“Time Machine” immediately determines the style of the band as well as the feel of the album, easing in with a sweet but earthy groove. The chorus crashes in, crooning waves of Parsonz’ voice over roaring guitars. The seven minute soundscape ends with reassurances of “Relax/ It’s gonna fade/ Relax/ It’s gone away”, leaving you with the feeling of both progression of self and deep regret. The feelings train doesn’t stop there, taking a tour of the oppression of religion (“Floor”), whimsical spirituality (“Forgive Me, Karma”), and range explorative, but relatively minimalist romanticism (“The Bear I & II”).
While artistically enjoyable, the album does fall into the most terrible trap jamming can lead to: every song sounding too similar. That is not to say that the songs aren’t beautiful or unique, whether it be the lyrics or the music itself. However, track to track can blend. At times, it is easy to not even notice two tracks have passed by. Songs like “Forgive Me, Karma” and “One Day” jar you from the mix, bringing you back to the album, feeling strategically placed, but forced.
As individual tracks or as just one giant groove for a party, Royal Thunder’s Crooked Doors is excellent, but not a perfect midnight car drive choice.