BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Following the triumph of 2015’s Crooked Doors, Royal Thunder continues its movement beyond being merely a hard rock band into something special. The Atlanta quartet’s third full-length WICK rocks as powerfully as the band always has, but folds in elements that elevate it above just headbanging and lighter waving. Evolving rhythms and tense chord sequences give “April Showers,” “Plush” and “Burning Tree” a psychedelic, even progressive mood. “Anchor” uses subtly shifting dynamics and plangent rhythm guitars to build a shimmering anthem that sounds likely to be a fan favorite, while “We Slipped” puts folk rock through the RT filter. None of this is to say the band doesn’t rock as hard as it always has. “The Sinking Chair” provides supercharged thrills, while the title track nods appreciatively to the band’s doom-heavy roots. “We Never Fell Asleep” puts Parsonz’s intimate lyrics and tortured howl, which burns hotter than a ghost pepper curry throughout, on a bed of swirling heavy guitar and loping drums that mainlines everything the foursome tries elsewhere into one memorable number. Though still unquestionably a powerhouse, Royal Thunder proves itself too versatile on WICK to be slipped into an easily labeled box.
DOWNLOAD: “Anchor,” “We Never Fell Asleep,” “We Slipped”