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Royal Thunder - Wick album review

Atlanta’s present-day answer to Led Zeppelin come good on third studio album

They met in a Christian cult, things got heavy, they escaped and formed a band, got married, then divorced…and today Royal Thunder’s founding duo (vocalist/bassist) Mlny Parsonz and (guitarist) Josh Weaver are still friends, and still making music. You really couldn’t make it up.

Perhaps you need this kind of weighty life experience to make the kind of intense rock that Royal Thunder do so well. That powerfully moving, almost unsettling racket that’s at once painful as hell and extremely beautiful. They’ve honed this recipe over two first-class LPs (One Day from Crooked Doors still makes us well up every time), and WICK is the peak of their career thus far – a rich, well-paced hybrid of heavy Led Zeppelin hoodoo, Fleetwood Mac romance (but harder and darker) and raw emotion.

Sumptuous but gritty, intensely thoughtful but relatable, it’s the sound of aggression (The Sinking Chair), psychedelic intrigue (April Showers), heartbreak (Plans) and determination (Anchor), channelled through one of modern rock’s most outstanding voices. When Mlny Parsonz sings “you ripped out my heart” you don’t question it, and Weaver’s hard, melodious guitar accentuates her cries to powerful effect. And amid the fierce concentration and finessed chops there’s still something appealingly wild about it all.

You want the real rock deal, circa 2017? This is it.