hide captionAs a kid, Mlny Parsonz found her voice by growling a Whitney Houston song in the back of a van.
As a kid, Mlny Parsonz found her voice by growling a Whitney Houston song in the back of a van.
Royal Thunder is at a crucial point in its young career. The Atlanta hard-rock band's 2009 EP was like the hard-hitting rookie batter who causes serious chatter; a heavy, '70s-style riff machine with pipes that could tear through walls. But fast-burning flames burn the fastest, setting up crazy expectations and jinxing long-term prospects. To extend the baseball metaphor (sorry, I'm in full-on baseball mode right now), the members of Royal Thunder must have trained in the off-season for their new album CVI, developing songs beyond a killer riff and even adding a second guitarist to its roster. CVI not only builds on the promise of a great EP, but it's also a portrait of songs that have been painstakingly lived-in, like the deeply personal "Parsonz Curse."
After two slow hi-hat hits and a two-note walkdown comes the voice of bassist Mlny Parsonz: a deep, bellowing howl that reaches straight into the chest. She can growl, coo and seethe in one phrase without breaking the seam. To be clear, Parsonz isn't the center of Royal Thunder, as many bands with female vocalists sometimes paint themselves. She's an integral part of the psychedelic, bluesy thud that slowly spirals upward from not only "Parsonz Curse," but also the album as a whole
When I called members (and spouses) Mlny Parsonz and guitarist Josh Weaver, both agreed separately that Royal Thunder needed time to regroup after the EP, though that never meant taking a break. Between nightly practices and performances, Weaver says he dug into guitar gear as Parsonz came to terms with her lyrics and what it meant to sing them.