Music Review: Royal Blood by Royal Blood

Posted: January 23, 2015 in Music

royal blood

Track One:  Out Of The Black Irregular staccato rhythm pattern by both bass and drums makes for an interesting opening, nice chard progression, the last half minute is really indicate, nice drum fills locking in with the bass. Lead singer Mike Kerr sounds like a cross between Robert Plant and Jack White.

Track 2: Come on Over:  The riff sounds like something Angus Young would make up, and the rhythm sounds like a train going over tracks.  And Kerr sings “I’m on a train going nowhere.” That can’t be by accident.

Track 3: Figure It Out:  Kerr’s vocals are at their Plant-ish best here.  The riff sounds like the“Feels Like The First Time” solo  by Mick Jones of Foreigner.  There’s also a part of the song that sounds like Heartbreaker from Led Zepelin The bass solo is nothing to write home about, but then they change tempo and go really into breakneck speed and it makes the entire song worth it.

Track 4 You Can Be So Cruel:  This reminds me of something the Smashing Pumpkins would do.  There’s a part of the song that sounds like “When The Levee Breaks” by Zep

Track 5:  Blood Hands They slow the tempo down on this one, the middle of the song sounds very familiar, but I can’t place it, very interesting bridge, and then the song starts up again.

Track 6:  Little Monster:  This is the best song on the album by far, it just jumps out at the listener and the chords just ooze power.  Turn it up loud.  The bridge and the bass solo are again nothing to speak of by the rhythm is so infectious that it’s hard not to like it. There are even background vocals on this song.  This is the most complete song on the album.

Track 7: Loose Change These vocals remind me of Jack White, and there a rhythm change mid song, effective to rev up the song, but not as effective as the tempo change on Figure It Out.

Track 8:  Careless:  There’s a really annoying high-pitched riff starting this song, and it carries on throughout the song the bridge removes the riff, and is better.  The chord progression reminds me a little of “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath, but of course Sabbath is better.  This is my least favorite song.

Track 9:  Ten Tonne Skeleton: This song has a nice swagger, that’s the best way to put it, it sounds different enough from the other songs to make it an enjoyable listen.  The bridge gets very quiet, almost like a chant, but then quickly goes back to the swaggering rhythm before ending.

Track 10:  Better Strangers:  Reminds me of something Vernon Reid and Living Colour would do.   A nice bouncy rhythm, lots of power chords, a bit redundant but not bad.

I first heard Royal Blood on MTV U and I heard “Out of The Black” and was intrigued.  I heard snippets of other songs and then heard “Little Monsters” and bought the CD.  It is amazing what bassist/Lead Singer Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher can do with a bass with lots of effects and a set of drums.  The Led Zeppelin and White Stripes influences are unmistakable.  But the drum bass combo has its limitations Jimmy Page would do incredible mind blowing riffs or solos with his six string and 12 string guitars, Mike Kerr can’t match those riffs on his effect laden bass, try as he might.

There’s nothing wrong with 3 and 4 minute songs with catchy riffs, AC/DC built a career on it.  But Angus Young was a master of creating a guitar riff that was just different enough from his previous songs to make them unique. Whether Kerr and Thatcher can replicate the Young brothers or Plant and Page or even Jack White’s success is yet to be seen.  Kerr and Thatcher need a little variety for their next album, Jack White did an acoustic song like “Sugar Never Tasted So Sweet” on their debut album, an acoustic song by Royal Blood could provide that variety.

Having said all of that, I like these songs a lot, 8 out of 10 songs that I like is not bad after a few listens, so if you like bands like Led Zep or the White Stripes, AC/DC or Foreigner, you will find something to like on Royal Blood’s debut album.  I appreciate the effort to try to bring heavy brooding rock chords back front and center.  This is a really good debut album.

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