Royal Thunder CVI

Royal ThunderCVI
Atlanta, GA's Royal Thunder are nothing if not ambitious on their Relapse debut. Over the course of this sprawling double album, the group showcase slower, moody, doom-tinged classic rock (yup, see "Sleeping Witch"), good, crisp rockers ("Minus") and tons of progressive, '70s styled, noodly arena rock. But, man, here's the rub: those soaring vocals, overtly long song lengths and arrangements that occasionally make you want to jab something in your eye? They're all skirting way too close to Mars Volta territory for comfort. (Oh, what, you enjoy four-minute guitar solos?) When Royal Thunder pull things in and keep them snappy, they're heading more towards Rival Sons turf, and that's a good place to be. Something tells me this batch is going to be stubborn and do things their way though. But there's enough skill and love of rock here to put up with some attitude. In time, it might take us to some great places, if either the listener's attention span or the band's willingness to rein it in a bit allow it. (Relapse)