ALBUM REVIEW: Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’Nic Jones
ALBUM REVIEW: Royal Blood – ‘Royal Blood’
Rock music has been missing fresh blood for some time. When was the last time a young band shook up the commercial rock scene, making a debut that everyone had no choice but to pay attention to? A couple have come close but they’ve not had the widespread impact. They’ve not hit the absolute mainstream. Royal Blood have blown that out of the water. In the past year they’ve come to prominence, earning a reputation for creating killer blues tracks. Their debut album has been possibly one of the most hotly anticipated rock albums of the year. Does it live up to the hype?
‘Out of the Black’ sets out their intention to answer that question quite clearly, so there can be no doubt: Yes. This is a loud, fierce record which pulls all the punches from the outset. Lead vocalist Mike Kerr’s voice creeps, shouts, screams and howls. It’s a strong rock vocal, there to compete with the best of them. At times he is reminiscent of Matt Bellamy, reaching thrilling high notes around screeching guitar solos. Ben Thatcher’s drums keep the pace high from the outset; setting the atmosphere and providing a steady but spine-tingling base for the guitars to weave around.
There’s no real misstep on the album. Nothing here feels ‘filler’, but there are some standouts. Runaway hit ‘Little Monster’ shows how accessible they are, bridging heavier rock with blues and strong melodies. ‘Careless’ is an anthem waiting to happen. “I wish I cared less / But I’m afraid I don’t / You couldn’t care less / So I guess you wont change your mind again”. It almost has a pop-sounding element to it, the chorus has a lingering quality meaning you’ll find yourself humming it long after that first listen. There’s so much passion and emotion filtering through each track, you have to wonder what or who has inspired the material.
This record is dark, sexy and angry. It’s a driver of pent up energy; it’s explosive. It’s attitude-filled and commands attention. It’s a guitar-riff fan’s dream. Songs are for the most part short, sharp and concise. The entire album clocks in at just under 33 minutes; there’s no self-indulgence, messing around or experimentation with different genres. Kerr and Thatcher have found their sound and their voice and they deliver it confidently.
It’s inevitable that Royal Blood will be compared to Jack White, the White Stripes and Queens of the Stone Age, and their influence can be heard but to write them off as only that would be short-sighted. Royal Blood present a fresh, younger and sparkier approach to rock and blues. They’ve made the kind of record that the bands who influence them don’t make anymore. It’s a record that can only be made by those hungry for success and eager to prove what they can do.
Royal Blood were formed in 2012, which is phenomenal considering their rapid rise to success. It feels like the magic must have been there from day one. If you’ve seen them live you know that’s exactly what they have in spades; magic.