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Royal Desolation — Puppet Dance

Royal Desolation
Puppet Dance
by Shea Higgerson at 07 May 2022, 5:08 AM

ROYAL DESOLATION pumps out an energetic, heavy release with “Puppet Dance” (which has a cool album cover) offering up a mix of hard rock and metal that could speak to those into more underground music and those who follow popular radio tunes. Their first song “Killer and Monster” is mean, but has one hell of a catch chorus in addition to a nasty breakdown. My favorite song on the album is “Schizophrenia,” which just has an awesome sound with the perfect mix of screams and clean vocals. I just wish the album had retained most of the magic I heard in the first two songs. As I was listening to this, I kept having the nagging feeling that Remo Schinder von Wartburg’s clean vocals sounded super familiar to me. I kept trying to place it and eventually realized he sounds like Michael Poulsen of VOLBEAT. There were times I heard a little bit of Howard Jones (LIGHT THE TORCH, EX-KILLSWITCH ENGAGE) and Leigh Kakaty (POP EVIL) too. But the Poulsen similarity is uncanny.

The title track “Puppet Dance” is where the band started to lose me and unfortunately this is only the third song. The chorus is extremely pop-y — as in pop music. It feels like it should be a club song, not a metal song. There are screams and moments of heaviness, but it’s very electronic and dance-y. I was not a fan of this direction. It’s like they tried to be a more turned down ELECTRIC CALLBOY. It definitely seems like the band started taking a more generic route with their music at this point. The next song “Dead Inside” uses cliche lyrics. But I will say this song has a really great section where the vocalist builds up to a heavy breakdown.

The “Runaway” chorus reminds me of “Show Yourself” by MASTODON, but I think it’s just because both of those are three syllables and they’re kind of sung the same. I liked this song and felt I was starting to have a love-hate relationship with the band. It’s got a catchy chorus and I like the screams in it, as well. I had a love-hate relationship with Raphael Schenk’s vocals. Sometimes his screams were spot on and sometimes they sounded almost too gritty as in “No One WIll Survive.” I also felt that the clean vocals and melodies sometimes sounded too much the same. For example, “Unbreakable” and “Runaway” sound way too similar to me.

I enjoyed the inclusion of female guest vocalist Grace Willis in the song “Memories of Pain.” It’s a pretty song and I like the music box sounds it opens with, but I like that the rest of the music is still heavy. The album ends the same way it begins — with a punch. They use the song “Army of Desolation” as kind of an anthem and a way to connect with fans, it seems.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Killer and Monster
2. Schizophrenia
3. Puppet Dance
4. Dead Inside
5. Army of Desolation
6. Runaway
7. Memories of Pain feat. Grace Willis
8. Unbreakable
9. One of a Kind
10. No One Will Survive
11. We Will Not Fall
12. Downfall
Raphael Schenk - Vocals
Remo Schinder von Wartburg - Clean Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Ludovic Bandelier – Lead Guitar
Gira Demarmels – Bass
Xaver Aemmer – Drums
Record Label: Sonic Attack Records


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