Even without the strange mythology surrounding them, Atlanta’s Royal Thunder are an innately fascinating band. Between stoic guitarist Will Fiore and the buoyant Josh Weaver every note feels like it’s being wrenched out of some raw, dark place, without a hint of pretence or affectation. The sound is ear-rattlingly trebly at the start and they have a propensity for creating such huge slabs of noise that the songs can sometimes all seem to meld into one, but Mlny Parsonz is as consistently powerful in her performance as ever. The slow march of Burning Tree leaves room for her unique, gravelly voice to be its rightful focal point. She’s unapologetically emotional on the crushing April Showers and more refined on Time Machine, suitably so for its expansive, psychedelic sound. The spinetingling highlight, though, is Plans; this is Mlny’s Janis Joplin moment, vast and soulful. It feels like it’s all over way too soon – a sure sign that Royal Thunder have something very special.
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)