Review: Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors


I guess we’re over halfway through this decade now, huh? Remember five years ago when it was suddenly cool for metal bands to play slow blues scales through Sunn amps again? Wasn’t it nice that our vintage metal tees were in vogue after the death of the Myspace-fueled “neon years” and all the pretty dudes/dudettes/dude-non-conformers thought your patch vest was super underground and hip? Validation for the underdog is sweet, right?

But has the doom trend peaked? Doesn’t it seem like it, when everyone from Mastodon to Baroness has wiped all the dirt off their Orange cabs and started singing like Chad Kroeger? If so, what’s next for melodic rock bands with huge amps and thick guitar tone? Is the answer… alternative hard rock? As in the stuff that dominated radio in the mid 90’s? Will we start seeing Soundgarden back patches on battle vests soon? In a couple years will all the cool hesher kids be jocking Hum and Failure as underappreciated classics alongside D.R.I. and Razor?

Does that mean that Royal Thunder are ahead of the curve with their new album Crooked Doors? Am I the only one who thinks this record sounds like a shoegaze remix of a better-than-normal Stone Temple Pilots record? Is that a good thing?


Speaking of which, we’ve all noticed that shoegaze is way more popular these days, right? That’s pretty cool, isn’t it? Doesn’t My Bloody Valentine deserve to be heard by more young ears than kids that read Radiohead’s entire Wikipedia page in 10th grade? But is it actually just a fad bubble connected to arbitrary 90’s worship? Are we bringing back the classics or just letting misguided nostalgia get to us? Wouldn’t that be a shame if this all turned out to be just like the regrettable 80’s phase of pop bands trying to bring back the ‘50s, but with shitty synths? Can you tell that I don’t quite know how to feel about all of this?

Am I just being close minded if I think Crooked Doors is the death knell of my interest in Royal Thunder? Am I thinking too hard about its implications, instead of just listening to the songs? Don’t you think I considered that after both times I fell asleep trying to get through the album? Must I have been simply imagining my numerous involuntary cringes at all the overwrought attempts at gritty, soulful singing on this record? Is it worth listening to for a few nice beats and catchy riffs if the whole package just oozes poor taste?

…No. No it’s not.


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