For Royal Thunder, emotional candour comes as naturally as breathing. Across three albums and two EPs, the Atlantan group created a spellbinding mix of emotive, soulful melodies and timeless compositions, Mlny Parsonz’s stunning voice as much in line with the likes of Grace Slick and Ann Wilson as modern powerhouses like Cammie Beverly and Lzzy Hale.
But five years since their last record, they tell Hammer they’ve gone to hell and back to return with their strongest – and most honest – record to date.
Where have you been for five years?!
Josh Weaver (guitars): “Before the pandemic, partying had become a big thing; the music was almost secondary. I’d run so hard the wheels had come off the vehicle. Years of not dealing with business or our personal lives, just saying, ‘Let’s go to the bar instead’, added up. Everything had to fall apart before we could set things right.”
Mlny Parsonz (bass/vocals): “Having a good time kept us from giving much of a shit about anything. Evan [Diprima, drums] left and it was hard not having him around. We were still playing, but our hearts were broken.”
So what changed?
Josh: “Around my 40th birthday, I figured if I was going to do things right you’re taking away from the nuances in your voice and the emotion can be lost.’ Pulling back felt very liberating – it made me work harder in different ways and get comfortable with the vulnerability in my voice.”
Have your experiences shaped the lyrical themes of the album?
Mlny: “It’s about reclaiming power, abandoning ship and rebuilding a mountain, the ‘mountain’ being this life you’ve created and worked so hard towards, then watched crumble. For me, it was also going back to dark places where things weren’t going well, and kinda apologising for that but releasing what I felt was the consequence of being an asshole and doing the wrong thing. A lot of it was metaphors for things that were sucking the life out of me.”
Josh: “It comes from a place of loss. I lost so much of my life to drinking – years, but also friends, to addiction. We’ve all lost so many people, both in death and those who are out there and hurting. Not everybody gets a second chance, so we’re so thankful that we’ve been able to make things right.”
Mlny: “This album is our chance to make things happen – we’ve done things the right way. If this is the last album we ever make, I’m happy. I feel spoiled to have these guys.”
Royal Thunder's new album is expected later this year via Spinefarm.