In recent months, incendiary shows from Architects and Bury Tomorrow balanced against Bullet For My Valentine playing The Poison in full have proved that while there’ll always be a new guard carrying the metalcore torch forward, there’s also a misty-eyed hankering for the perceived heyday of the genre. As far as Dutch five-piece The Royal are concerned, they have their feet firmly in both camps.
“I couldn’t have been more excited about Bullet playing The Poison,” says guitarist JD Liefting. “It’s a record that did a lot for me and a lot of people feel the same. Plus, it’s great that there’s a lot of nostalgia for the scene. A lot of those records were so fresh, they gave an incredible boost to our genre. The Royal are inspired by the sound and purity of those albums, so it’s good to see people looking back to where it all started. We have a vision to take older metalcore, stuff like As I Lay Dying and early Trivium, and mix it with a new vibe, a modern twist. That’s something we haven’t seen in Holland. The bands I grew up with were Underoath, Adept, August Burns Red and Parkway Drive. The uprising of metalcore in Europe then was really fresh, it was like a golden era. All those new riffs. Then over the years it took a different turn. Holland is very hardcore-minded and now metalcore is swept under the carpet a lot of the time.”
Formed in 2012, the band set out to do things their own way, and they are determined that their second album, Seven, a feast of face-melting breakdowns, crushing vocals, blindingly fast, chrome-plated riffery and huge melodic passages imbued with a message of positivity, will put metalcore on the map again in their home country.
“There’s an idea of how a band should be growing in Holland - that you should earn a status before you make merch, and stuff like that,” suggests JD, before shooing away such a theory and emphasising that if any band wants to make it, they have to be fearless and prepared to put themselves out there. “We have more of a vision,” he states confidently. “I don’t think there’s a band here with our particular sound.”
If their current situation is anything to go by, it certainly seems like all the hard work, confidence and belief in what they do has paid off nicely. 2017 will be the year The Royal finally make it over to the UK for their first live shows on these shores, one of which will include pushing metalcore resolutely out of its comfort zone in the proggier realms of Techfest. With their ears glued to the triumphs of metalcore’s past but their eyes focused on annexing new sonic pastures in the future, it’s not a gig you should miss.
The Royal play Techfest, Newark Showground, in July. Seven is out March 31 via Longbranch/SPV