Going blind in to the debut album from Atlanta rock band Royal Thunder there were many whispers in the ear that their self titled EP of 2010 was rather tasty and that this new album should be great. Well the news is that great does not cut it for CVI is simply a triumphant feast of rock music for every taste. It is fuelled with such stunning creativity and hypnotic lingering sounds it finds a place in each and every heart.
Released may 22nd via Relapse Records, CVI is a sweltering array of classic rock, southern tinged blues, and progressive artistry with more than a liberal dose of metal and stoner thrown in for extra spice. It is an unpredictable release that twists and turns with glee to leave one persistently surprised, continually eager, and always fully satisfied. Drawn from a well deep with essences of the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cradle, Electric Wizard and Black Tusk to name a few, the album is an invigorating and consuming insatiable mass of splendour which leaves one enveloped in an immersive smog of aural grandeur.
The album opens with Parsonz Curse and within this song alone you know all you need to know about the album in sound, creativity, and quality. Seven minutes of pulsating mesmeric ingenuity the song is an expansive hard/progressive rock driven explosion of colourful sounds, heated melodies, and imaginative invention. The guitars of Josh Weaver and Josh Coleman bring dazzling weaves of melodic sonic blistering to the senses with white hot radiance whilst Lee Smith with his rhythms and the bass teasing of Mlny Parsonz add deeper shadows and darkened energy. It is amazing stuff and alone is undeniably impressive but it is the vocals of Parsonz bringing another fiery torch within the songs that the ignition of passions find their fullest flame. Her tones spread from searing the ear with scorched passion to mesmeric beauty and whatever the varied path she brings to each song she is irresistible.
Whispering World follows and inflames thought and heart with flurries of stout dominate beats and compulsive riffs. Together they lead one unerringly into the magnetic beauty within its passions and emotive force majestic. At one point the song may have you swaying within its siren glow and the very next it is inciting aggressive urges. It is as all tracks on CVI a bustling forever evolving maelstrom of invention.
Though every song deserves attention time and space is a greedy beast so as we bring some songs to light take those we do mention as read for those not. CVI is deeply diverse, an ever amazing collection of songs which draw you back into their irresistible charms like an aural addict. The one consistent that does pervade every track though is quality, not once is there a dip or lull in the sheer awe inspiring imagination. You can pick the likes of the anthemic express that is No Good, the sensational Blue with its wonderful evocative instrumental first part, or the haunting prowl of South Of Somewhere, and find alongside their glories something else totally unique but equally astounding. Blue is as contagious as any new virus, its soul and breath breeding a pure addiction whilst the craft and songwriting is from wizardry borne conjurations whilst South Of Somewhere is a seemingly chilled yet unsettling entity, its initial presence disentangled from its surroundings but ultimately it reveals itself as a wanton tease. Drawing one in with a slight sinister allure and remote emotive atmosphere it slowly weaves its devious charms to explode with fury of punk attitude and metal intensity. Though it is near impossible to choose a standout track all so impressive, this pair ignites the biggest fire of all.
CVI is an easy contender for album of the year and it is hard to imagine many will rise alongside it let alone surpass its brilliance and magnitude of imagination. Royal Thunder has made those initial whispers rather inadequate and very under estimating.