Monday, June 11, 2012
Royal Thunder bring their bad ass hard rock to Wallingford this Friday
In an alternate universe, a band like Atlanta's Royal Thunder, would be full on rock stars, and their passionate, and well crafted, riff rock would be played on heavy rotation on whatever local commercial rock radio station is in your area. In an age when many bands considered hard rock or metal, are getting slick, soulless and a little cliché ridden, it's nice to find a band that is flying the flag for high octane, no bs riff rock topped with soulful vocals, which are provided by their take charge front woman/bassist Mlny Parsonz.
Originally though, Parsonz wasn't a hard rock belter par excellence, she started out at the more extreme end of the music spectrum, belting out grunts and howls in a bunch of death and grindcore bands. While this fit her aggressive personality, she eventually realized there was only so far she could go with this.
"I fell into the death and black metal thing. I would talk to all these death and black metal vocalists that would come through, who had been doing for a long time and found out the toll it took on them. Same for me, I shouldn't be able to this, but I am," said Parsonz.
Luckily, extreme metal's loss, is the hard rock scene's gain, because she has a ballsy and bad ass rock n roll voice, one that is perfectly suited to the type of music RT plays. For something that sounds so natural, it would be surprising to find out what she really thinks of herself. She thinks of herself as a musician first and a vocalist second.
"I really don't look at myself as a vocalist. I have a hard time pulling back. I'm always pushing out," Parsonz said. Also, you would be quite surprised to find out what vocalists and musicians inspire her. As true to form, she enjoys a whole range of vocalists and musicians, from early jazz, to modern rock and even, dare we say, grunge.
"I try not to emulate any one vocal style because I'm not trying to copy anyone, but the vocalists I keep popping onto my record player are vocalists like Nina Simone and Jeff Buckley. Even though, Nirvana really made me want to play music," said Parsonz.
But before you think that Royal Thunder is all her show, remember it is a group made up of talented musicians. In fact, Parsonz's husband, Josh Weaver, is the band's lead guitarist and writes the songs that are tweaked into form by Parsonz, rhythm guitarist Josh Coleman and drummer Lee Smith.
In fact, many of the songs start out as ideas from Weaver. He then brings these ideas to the band, and they hash them out, often adding their own little touches to the proceedings. The band has gotten so good at communicating with each other, they don't always have to speak to each other.
"We talk with our instruments. It just happens naturally. We do our thing," said Parsonz.
Parsonz, though, handles a majority of the lyrics and when it comes to these she can get very personal, with most of the songs dealing directly with incidents that have happened in her life. For example, the excellent song, "Blue", off their most recent album "CVI" is about a person who was a big part of Parsonz's life for a while, but isn't anymore, and may never hear the song. It's her at her most vulnerable, like many of the other songs on the new album.
"Lyrically, I write about life and this journey I'm on. There is a spiritual aspects to the songs too. It's also about the burn I get from those particular life experiences. For me it's about learning from past experiences and being very honest with yourself. In that way, I'm still digging, trying to find my core," said Parsonz.
This perfect balance between the band's music and Parsonz's lyrics can be found on their new record "CVI", which was released in late May of this year on Relapse. It finds the band, expanding and improving on their self-titled EP which came out in 2010. To be blunt, it's one of the best heavy rock albums of the year and should be a no-brainer for anyone who loves straight up, kick butt, yet very creative hard rock. They've totally come into their own as a band on this one, and it shouldn't be passed up.
Recently they've just started a tour supporting high energy and bearded rock combo Valient Thorr. This series of live dates will see them playing a special headlining date at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford this Friday on an off day from the main tour. This is a chance to catch the band in their element, because it's a very important component of this band.
"Playing live is what I live for. You discover who you are each and every night. There is an energy you get from the crowd. There is a certain rawness and realness to it. It's all about being in the moment and it changes every night," Parsonz said.
So, don't miss this.
Nothing But Wolves
Friday, June 15
Cherry Street Station
491 North Cherry Street Extension
Wallingford, CT 06492
8:30pm - 21+ - $10