The final breath of March saw Dutch metallers The Royal release their sophomore album via Longbranch/SPV, an emotional and technical cauldron of melodic metalcore which is simply hard to ignore. The Eindhoven hailing quintet is being talked of with big expectations for their future and through their second full-length, Seven it is easy to see why.
Formed in 2012, The Royal has proceeded to breed and earn a potent reputation at home and further afield year by year. Their first year saw the release of the Origins EP with the well-received single Blind Eye coming a year later. Debut album Dreamcatchers further pushed the band into broader attention with its unveiling in 2014 whilst live the five-piece has drawn plaudits, the band going on to support the likes of Architects and Breakdown Of Sanity and play events such as Jera On Air and the Impericon Festival. Seven though just might be the wake-up call to bigger and greater opportunities; certainly its eventful and resourceful exploits deserves a moment with the metal world’s attention.
The album opens up with Thunder, a track living up to its title. Stormy clouds gather as the track settles into place, riffs respectfully but menacingly harrying the senses before wiry grooves erupt and vein its increasingly tempestuous climate. Soon the song hits its virulent stride, rhythms an imposing trespassing on the senses as the guitars snarl and weave their creative textures within the ebb and flow of the assault. All the while vocalist Semuel Pisarahu boils with emotional ire and open antipathy, a scowling hue equally striking in the web of enterprise, melodic suggestiveness, and raw aggression getting the album off to a mighty start.
Its mix of flavours is another potent aspect to the song and matched within the following Feeding Wolves. Its first touch is a melodic gentleness though soon joined by the low key but open grumble of Loet Brinkmans’ bass and the meaty jab and roll of Tom Van Ekerschot’s beats. As Pisarahu growls, the track erupts into another hellacious yet inviting tempest speared by a predacious swing and spicy grooves. As in the first song, guitarists JD Liefting and Pim Wesselink reveal themselves as comfortable seducing ears with warm melodies as they are ravaging them with bracing and abrasive hostility, their imagination and craft adding to the inventive unpredictability of the song and indeed album.
The mercurial character of the second track similarly grabs the imagination; a quality all songs have in varying degrees. Next up Wildmind is less changeable, more a persistent blaze of irritable jaundice but also flowing through creative twists and turns. Though not quite matching up to the first pair in igniting the passions, it leaves satisfaction full and appetite hungry for the proposals offered next by Creeds And The Vultures and Counterculture. The first has a mean-spirited air to its attitude and touch but one tempered by the maze of winding grooves and captivating melodies wrapping the vocal tension whilst its successor and the band’s new single rocks with relish while also creating a web of melodic enticement and vitriol lit dynamics, rhythmically and sonically. There is a toxic and intoxicating depth to its body, keys a hug of beauty, guitars a kaleidoscope of intent and endeavour as Pisarahu leads the raw vocal roar.
From the melancholy drenched atmospheric instrumental Interlude, the album’s title track has ears and imagination entwined, instantly too as its opening guitar twang flirts with instincts before they are infested by a glorious net of rapacious grooves. Another song which is rock ‘n’ roll at heart and carnivorous in persona, it crawls into the psyche; colouring its realms with fluttering melodies and animalistic textures. Middle Eastern spices only add to its majesty, the track emerging as quite simply aural captivation.
Life Breaker unleashes its ravenous sinews and creative rancor next, though again beauty is as prevalent in its physical nature as emotional discord while Thalassa is an invasive animus of sound and emotion which, without skimping on sonic light, is a darker, more vindictive enmity. Both tracks hit the spot, the former dead centre, before Draining Veins gives its melody woven volcano a friction of vocal and rhythmic tension which boils to inhospitable crescendos across its ever shifting and provocative soundscape.
The album closes with Viridian, a song epitomising the fluid ability of the band to tap into and blend contrasting emotions and textures whilst simultaneously challenging and stirring the listener. It is also a mighty collusion of sonic flirtation and predacious alienation bringing the album to an impressive end.
There are times when, on the surface, tracks share similar essences and personalities to other songs but attention and time defuses any apparent sameness. What emerges, is a creatively immense and thoroughly enjoyable proposition which, for appetites of bands like August Burns Red, While She Sleeps, and Northlane, of metalcore which wants to push itself, is a definite must check out.
Seven is out now via Longbranch/SPV. All links available @ https://theroyal.lnk.to/Seven
Pete RingMaster 05/04/2017
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