2. Feeding Wolves
4. Creeds And The Vultures
8. Life Breaker
We live in uncertain times. A time where 'tallica feel they can charge £90 for a gig ticket. A time where Parkway are sounding more and more like a pirate Metal band. A time where bands like Bring Me are so disconnected from the Metal scene, Fearne Cotton is rumoured to be doing guest vocals on their next Radio 1 Live Lounge Session. I jest of course, and I'm not suggesting that all of these changes are bad (I'm a huge fan of rum and cannons). However, it seems that we could do with a few up and coming bands that kick us back onto the right side of the tracks. Enter, The Royal.
The Dutch Melodic Metalcore five-piece was founded in 2012 and since then, have released several records and have an impressive résumé of support and festival slots. Their new release, "Seven" harks back to a golden age of Metalcore, such as the release of Parkway Drive's "Deep Blue" or Miss May I's "Creations". One thing becomes very clear within the first minute of this full-length album: these boys are professionals.
The opening track, "Thunder" is aptly named. The first thirty seconds of the track builds up a huge storm of sound. Tom Van Ekerschot's drumming is unreal, setting a precedent for all other up and coming Metal bands. Dual guitars from JD Liefting and Pim Wesselink are thick and fast. It's clear they have a great dynamic, with harmonising riffs reminiscent of August Burns Red and Avenged Sevenfold.
Throughout the entire album, Sem Pisarahu lays down such a forceful and consistent growl. He can hold his own against such an immense sound coming from the rest of the band. Both his vocals and the lyrics for "Viridian" in particular stood out for me. I love it when heavy bands avoid unnecessary visceral and aggressive lyrics. Pisarahu and the boys are in the business of reaffirming the listener, motivating them, lifting them.
The album-titled track "Seven" was my second favourite track. It kicks in with some filthy Djent-sounding riff, showcasing Loet Brinkmans' deep and cutting basslines. With another powerful section of dual harmonising guitar work from Liefting and Wesselink. A pounding breakdown brings it all together, making it seemingly impossible to stand still at a Royal show.
My favourite track on the album has to be "Creeds & The Vultures". The guitar work in the chorus is bright, the riff throughout is energetic, it's a solid track... Then something happens about three minutes in. There's this incredible acoustic guitar interlude, accompanied by what can only be described as "organic" percussion. It feels very Mediterranean and completely changes the dynamic, it almost feels like a calm moment of reflection, bordering on spiritual. This eventually leads into a build up into a variation of the first part of the track, with some haunting gang vocals, tight rhythm and Pisarahu's liberating lyrics. This track is a labour of love, blood, sweat and beers.
There were only a few snags that I picked up on, which have made me reflect on some of my favourite Metalcore albums as well. "Seven" is a well produced, well composed album, made by extremely talented djentlemen from Eindhoven. None of the tracks are bad, but feel that Tracks 4 through 7 stand out because they offer even the smallest bit of variation from the rest of the album. It may be that I'm asking too much and I have half a mind to agree with you, but when it comes to these guys touring the UK again, its these tracks in the middle of the album that I'll be looking forward to seeing. It may be impossible to achieve such variation throughout an entire album, but if anyone were capable of doing this, it would be The Royal. Perhaps some clean vocals? Who knows what will come next.
The only thing I do know however, is that this album is injecting life into a leaderless Metal scene, long live THE ROYAL reign!
Check out their video for 'Wildmind'
Website - www.theroyalofficial.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/theroyalofficial/
Review - Cee Gregory