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Munroe's Thunder - The Black Watch Award winner

Munroe's Thunder
The Black Watch
by Kevin Lewis at 20 September 2022, 11:25 AM

MUNROE’S THUNDER is a side project of Ronny Munroe, former METAL CHURCH and current VICIOUS RUMORS vocalist. Having fronted a couple of legendary Thrash Metal bands, this is a record of tracks he likely had in his back pocket for the right time, and what better time than when the world is emerging from a global shutdown. Two years of collaborations have led to multiple great releases from tons of killer bands. “The Black Watch” will hit the airwaves November 11th, 2022, via RFL Records.

The album opens with the sounds of battle, complete with bagpipes, for a quick 21 second intro called “Battle Cry.” This quickly fades into the title track, a heavy riffed banger with a killer rhythm. The thrash influence is all over this song, from the guitar tunings to the drum patterns. The melodic bridge is really good, feeding the climb up into the solo. At just overt seven minutes, this is the longest song on the disc and shows some of the minor Progressive Metal influences the band has.

Maintaining the heavy with some killer melodic chops, both “Awaken The Fire” and “Gray Hall” are solid compositions. “Gray Hall” has a quick DEEP PURPLE segment after the intro and before the vocals enter. This Classic Rock vibe permeates the whole song, often under the riff, where it acts like more of a minor theme. The keyboards add a lot of texture to this track, filling a lot of sonic space with additional tones that round out the song really well.

Babbington Mary” starts with minstrel style guitar work, like a hero is heading off to battle in olden days. After the short intro, the main body of the song comes in heavy, but the minstrel music returns. The variations are well done, sounding like natural transitions rather than disparate melodies that don’t fit together.

Another song with a large dose of keys is “Dead Man’s War.” The riff on this track is stunning, overlaying the keys with a great dose of heaviness. There are Thrash Metal moments, but also classic Heavy Metal and Melodic Metal as well. There are shifting guitar phrases and rhythms that really draw the attention. This is an early favorite on the album because of all this most excellent compositional work.

Falkirk” is the intro for “Thirty Years War,” a melodic piece that builds, drops, and builds again. The final drop at the end, beautifully handled with a piano and subdued vocals show the breadth of what this band is capable of writing and performing. The grit Ronny throws into the voice is really nice, giving the vocals a better workover than in some of the other tracks. His range is quite broad.

Closing the album out is “The Executioner.” A heavy, yet melodic track that brings back some of the other aspects of the record, bringing it full circle and closing out the disc thematically. You get more of the Classic Rock built into the Heavy Metal. It’s a really good choice for the final track, reminding the listener that this is a band that can, and will, write more than just a bunch of fast Thrash Metal tracks to appeal to a specific crowd.

MUNROE’S THUNDER is different than much of what Ronny has done over the course of his career, but it doesn’t stray so far away that it sounds like he had a change of heart as to what he wants to do with his voice/life. This is an admirable disc that stands on its’ own two feet and deserves all the praise that is sure to come this way.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

1. Battle Cry
2. The Black Watch
3. Awaken the Fire
4. Gray Hall
5. Babbington Mary
6. Brace for The Night
7. Dead Man’s War
8. Falkirk
9. Thirty Years War
10. Echoes of The Dead
11. The Executioner
Ronny Munroe – Vocals
BJ Zampa – Drums
David Mark Pearce – Guitar
Justin Zych – Guitar
Record Label: RFL Records


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