ALBUM REVIEW: Royal Thunder – Rebuilding The Mountain


This band from Atlanta transcended the vest metal tag assigned to them early on, to become one of the most underrated new acts to coast under the radar of mainstream rock. The lengthy seven-year break since their last album did not help this, but Rebuilding The Mountain (Spinefarm Records) finds the band taking inventory of their demons before returning, reconfigured, with drummer Evan Diprima back in the fold.

The album opens with a more introspective feeling and roars back into form with the first single from this album, ‘The Knife’. As with most music, my preference is for things to get darker and heavier, which they do with ‘Now Here No Where’. Heaviness here is not limited to a guitar tone, or the aggressiveness with which they pound upon their instruments. In fact, the heaviest element of the album is the lyrics. Royal Thunder’s lyrics have always felt personal, but this time around there is more emotional catharsis to them which empowers Mlny Parsonz vocal performance. This time around, it’s a case of when you point the finger, three are pointing back at themselves. ‘Twice’ finds her exploring different intervals with her voice, as she dips down for a note to come back up into her head register. There is an almost country feel to how some of the chords are picked out. “Pull” brings the more soulful aspects to the forefront.

The stripped-down approach to songwriting this time around finds the band jamming less and getting to the meat of the song faster. The more economic arrangements make every minute count. ‘Live to Live’ allows Miny’s voice the space to wander, as the song builds in soaring altitude rather than heating to explode. They do stomp on the volume and rock out more with ‘My Ten’ that is driven by Parsonz’ bass lines. ‘Fade’ is a smoky rock tune that breezes by, and it reminded me of the conversation I have seen online regarding who should replace Chris Cornell in the event of a Soundgarden reunion, and her performance here is a good argument for Parsonz to fill the role. She belts out even harder on ‘The King’, where dark country comes to mind again with the reverb-tinged phrasing of the guitar.


‘Dead Star’ closes the album and is more riff-oriented than the bulk of what they bring to the table, pulsing like a fever dream to remind you that while they are no longer bound by the confines of being a metal band, they are influenced by the genre. However, that influence has begun to fade further in the horizon, as a more organic warmness defines the guitar tones.


Rebuilding The Mountain is an album that slithers around you like a fever dream, and they are not a band that can be accused of making the same album twice. If you are a fan of their earlier retro-metal beginnings, the bulk of that is gone, but if you have allowed your expectations to grow along with their creative journey, you will be rewarded, as this is a very personal reflective album that still rocks, and grows on you with each listen.


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9 / 10