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Black Royal - Earthbound Award winner

Black Royal
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 16 November 2022, 2:03 PM

There are moments when bands lose the sight of the right path due the obedience of elements of a paradigm where a specific Metal subgenre is built upon. To others, creation is a need greater than the respect, so these ones are able to create something different from the usual, and that’s the case of the Finnish quartet BLACK ROYAL, as can be heard on “Earthbound”, their latest release.

To state things without creating a new paradigm: the band’s efforts are in a trend that allows them to create a blend between Heavy Metal, Stoner Metal and Death Metal elements, so it’s aggressive, nasty and ferocious, but full of excellent melodic hooks and it’s heavy as Hell. The mix is in a very good level of balance, what means that the band is in a great creative moment. It’s different, so dive into this frantic mix between energy, melodies and aggressiveness, and be prepared by the energetic blow in all the songs.

The album brings Oskari Hakala-Rahko for the mixing (instead of their longtime partner Jussi Kulomaa), and once more Jaakko Viitalähde on the mastering. It’s a form of sonority that fits in some aspects of Stoner Metal due the organic feeling and greasy ambiences, but in a form that allows the melodies and aggressiveness to be understood without problems, and in a defined way.

All the songs are really very good, and any set chosen can satisfy the fans. But as a mere reference (for those that still don’t know the band’s work), “Earthbound” (a greasy and impacting song built upon slow tempos, but with amazing guitar riffs in a Stoner Metal tendency), “Ghosts of the Dead” (this one is full of many hooks and good melodies, contrasting with the snarls of the vocals), “Law of Nature” (the inner Stoner Metal essence of this one can be felt of the instrumental arrangements, and what solid and compact work of bass guitar and drums), “Phoenix Ascending” (a song with many deeper and melancholic moments, what means they explore some different elements from time to time), “Queen of the Underworld” (a hooking song with many Stoner/Groove Metal melodic elements that contrast with the rough ambience), and “Rite of Passage” will do the work.

It’s a surprise to see how BLACK LOYAL is able to run away from the ‘more-of-the-same’ and dares to create on “Earthbound”. The best thing for those who can’t understand a deeper analysis: to listen to and enjoy the album, the best part of it.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Earthbound
2. Ghosts of the Dead
3. Conjuration
4. Law of Nature
5. 13th Moon
6. Phoenix Ascending
7. Bleed Your Soul
8. Queen of the Underworld
9. Bear Cult
10. Barren Land
11. Rite of Passage
Riku - Vocals
Toni - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Pete - Bass, Backing Vocals
Jukka - Drums
Record Label: M-Theory Audio/Salem Rose


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