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Former southern sludge wunderkinds Royal Thunder began charting a path away from sludge, and metal altogether, on their sophomore album Crooked Doors. That album, with its Alice in Chains (or newer Life of Agony) dirges and vaguely Pantera-ish ballads hearkened back to the genre’s radio rock crossover heyday in the early 90’s to great effect. It was my second favorite album of 2015, thanks in no small part to its emotional and heartfelt delivery. A breakup album, Crooked Doors reminded me, in spirit of Fleetwood Mac’s inescapable smash Rumours.

Their follow-up, Wick, sheds fewer tears, but sounds even more like Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and company. Turning the clock back another quarter century puts this release firmly in not-metal territory, but offers advantages. Mlny Parsonz remains one of the best signers in modern rock music, and the more spacious arrangements on songs like “April Showers” give her room to shine. Listen to those synths twinkle and that bass thump, both a world away from the murky fuzz of CVI. Likewise, if Crooked Doors had a weakness, it was that record’s propensity for winding song arrangements that distracted from their core pop rock strengths. Wick, though, remains focused. Metal or not, Royal Thunder are still remarkable songwriters, arrangers and performers.

Parsonsz has this to say about the song:

"A lot has happened in life between Crooked Doors and Wick. This song was a liferaft and an outlet while we were on the road. It was a song that we lived in and looked forward to playing, live. Personally, it gave me the freedom to release my emotions and process my thoughts while is was on the road. We hope you enjoy this song. And we appreciate your support, sincerely. We present to you.... 'April Showers.'"

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Wick is out on 4/7 via Spinefarm Records. Follow Royal Thunder on Facebook.

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this article has been amended to correctly reflect the spelling of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

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