Album Review: Crooked Doors by Royal Thunder

Crooked DoorsA couple of years past one of our readers suggested I give a listen to C.V.I. by Royal Thunder and pretty much right after the first spin I was absolutely in love with it.  It is unlike anything I had heard.  It encompasses the attitude of metal, the psychedelic tendencies of prog, the soul of blues rock, and the heart of Americana folk.  Yet, if one were to pin it to one or a mix of those genres, it just wouldn’t fit in too well.  It just sits there on its own doing its own thing.  Now the Georgian quartet are here with a sophomore release to one of my favorite modern records and it does not disappoint.  In fact, it quite surpasses any expectations I had.

As with C.V.I., a big driving force throughout the entirety of Crooked Doors lies within the singular voice of Mlny Parsonz.  Exuding soul, emotion, and gravitas on every single note her bluesy vocals float effortlessly through whatever color or mood her band mates throw at her.  Whether the personifying that snarl of grunge on ‘Time Machine’ or channeling her inner-Billie Holiday on ‘The Bear’ Americana suite, she will find a way tug at your heartstrings in some shape or form.  And her lyrics just amplify the passion put into the singing.

Capitol Photography ParntersRoyal Thunder is a band and not the Mlny Parsonz show however, and with such a notable voice like hers, you better believe the rest of the crew are no slouches.  There’s no superfluous solos, crushing rhythms, or show stealing riffs going on the record.  What the real talent here is how all four member work together to lift the other up and create interesting and concise songs.  On ‘Ear on the Fool’ a bright sounding ominous riff weaves through a serpentine rhythm creating this delightfully dizzying effect while the vocals keep the twisty turbulence in check.  On ‘Forget You’ the doom metal riffing feels right at home with rock and roll vocals and on ‘The Line’ the fuzzy guitar tone melds perfectly with the Mars Volta-like passages of proggy psychedelia.  There’s even a rather unique take on the ballad with ‘The Line’ delivering a grungy/country concoction. The record is filled with endless moments of one complimenting the other, and not only is it engaging but also makes repeat listens that much more enjoyable.  This is a band that really feeds off of each other and it’s a pleasure to listen to.

Starting with a bang and ending on a solemn and uplifting note, Crooked Doors is a complete package.  Whether you’re a fan of metal, rock, blues, prog, folktechbabbledethsludge-coorz, if you dig on simply damn great music this is a must listen.  Not wanting depreciate their outstanding debut, this album is the outcome of hard work and honing a craft.  There wasn’t a single moment I found my attention meandering from the music which is a testament to the strong songwriting and performances throughout its hour-long run time.  The highest of recommendations. Peace love and metal!!! 5/5

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on March 30, 2015, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thats a very good review!
    It’s funny how much I agree with you on what you write about Crooked Doors, even your descriptions of particular songs:-) When I first listened to the record I was quite irritated by the path the band took with this. Besides songs like the ‘Time Machine’ (great feeling and awesome finale) or ‘Glow’ which were more like the ones on CVI and Royal Thunder, I needed a certain time to acclimatize myself to the much more diverse ideas they implement on Crooked Doors. And also I instantly found many of those ideas intriguing the songs as a whole didn’t strike me as much as ‘Parzons Curse’, ‘Whispering World’ or ‘Blue’ (after endless listenings my probably my favorite Royal Thunder song) did, when I first heard them. But Royal Thunder most certainly have the quality the write music that grows with every time you listen to it.

    Just the unexpected as awesome beginning of ‘Forget You’ is great… You find something special in nearly every song, and also I like the more ‘classic’ songs better I appreciate the others and like to listen to Crooked Doors in it’s entirety, which is something, that really not many bands can trigger in me (considering I always and every day listen to a lot (new) music and for that pick my favorite songs). Still I think I could have been a bit better. And there are two songs I skip by now. The chorus of ‘Wake Up’ is kind of nerving and I’m still quite disappointed by ‘The bear II’. A song that is in my opinion just really such a typical run-of-the-mill ballad, that I honestly like to ignore it’s existence because of it’s unpleasant medicority, so unfitting to such an awesome band. Also the production of Crooked Doors had a bit more punch.

    But be this as it may, Crooked Doors is still very good. And since I wrote a review of my own for a magazine I’m able to share my conclusion (If you want it or not;-P:
    This record is once more the fruit of an harmonizing team, that clearly gets to their songs from jams rather than to edit bits and pices together. A record above whom (?) Mlny Parzons characteristic voice is reigning once more; with primitive/elemental power, thrilling beauty and complete passion. Crooked Doors is more concise, versatile, rich of ideas and easier to grasp (for a first time listener, I may should have added) – but not quite as fascinating and thrilling as its predecessor. Although that has already be proven to be a grower.

    I’m already excited to see them again live, which I did on their tour with Baroness. Only this time I hope to be more sober (very good recollection of their gig, but the memories on Baroness are lost in haze;-)

    • Thanks dude! I have to disagree about the Bear II, I love that track and I think it really fits in perfectly with the whole flow of the record making it a great closer.
      And yeah, this album just grows and grows. I’ve been listening to it near daily for about 2 weeks and I love it more each time. CVI may have had a few more memorable spots, but Crooked Doors is much tighter as a whole album; very little downtime.

  2. PS: I meant: The production fo CVI had more punch.

  3. Listening to the tracks available on Bandcamp, it’s actually a very pleasant listen. I enjoy it much more than I thought. After listening a lot to Esben & The Witch (although they’re more post-rocky) lately, I’ve gotten used to and started to like this style of vocals and mid-paced, riffy music. I hope they make the whole album stream-able after release. Great review!

  4. I think I just listened to Time Machine 10 times in a row…

    Outstanding review, BTW!

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