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Royal Talons - Self-Titled

Royal Talons
by Tom Coles at 01 October 2012, 4:11 PM

Doom isn’t going so much of a revival as a renaissance. Arguably spurned on by the success of MASTODON and HIGH ON FIRE, comb-dodging vest-wearers are coming back to old formulas laid down by bands like the ubiquitous SABBATH, the pioneering CATHEDRAL and the experimental NEUROSIS and creating something which, at the same time as satisfying a yearning for the past, presents something altogether new and more interesting rather than just a re-hash of old ideas. Here in England we’ve got acts such as BLACK MAGICIAN flying the flag – hugely influenced by the almighty riff-gods ELECTRIC WIZARD, but the Americans seem more experimental with their doom, exploring elements of drone and psychedelic.

ROYAL TALONS are a refreshing blend of acts such as the aforementioned ELECTRIC WIZARD with the impenetrable SUNN O, but fused with the glorious delay of late-FLOYD GILMORE. The result is a band who manages to find a sound for itself whilst playing in a genre which wears its influences firmly on its sleeve; rather than succumbing to the temptation of aping their influences, they fuse them into a potent cocktail of fury. There’s some hardcore there too, which is always good to see; so many Doom bands pull the short straw drummer-wise and stick to basic beats, but here we see a cascade of fills linking each section and allowing them to flow into one another rather than acting as a metronome.

The overall feel of the album is something really crushing, intense pent-up power being released slowly over a roaring fire of fury. On top of that, the experimental flourishes work really well. Though this is an album to be heard several times before the full effect sinks in, it really is worth it – not only is it performed with great conviction but it feels organic, like a bunch of similarly-minded musicians went into a studio and recorded something they very much wanted to hear.

Negative points? This won’t appeal to people who get bored at slow things. The pace is always kept slow, increasing in intensity rather than sheer speed. But that’s a feature of the genre rather than a criticism! I can see the vocals maybe proving unpopular with those used to deeper, Doom-laden tones; but again that’s a personal gripe. I loved Jevf’s voice. He’s got a woe-inducing feel to his singing that works well with the music, and the production on his voice is great – it’s not lost in the guitars, but the wall of riffing engulfs it and they compliment each other rather than vying for attention.

In summary then, this album is killer. If you like your doom to be scattered with handfuls of influence unusual though not too leftfield, in a band which seems polished enough to produce a very fine album without fighting over individual egos, this will sit very well for you. For whatever comes next, I’d love to see more of the experimentation come through, especially the delay effects on the end of "Robot Cities" – truly, impressive stuff.

4 Star Rating

1. Shark Skull
2. The Scroll
3. Robot Cities
4. D-Day Spell
5. Western Path
Jevf– Vocals / Guitar
Dread - Bass / Vocals
Kurdt Kocaine - Drums / Vocals
Record Label: ConSouling Sounds


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