Black Royal

Oh man this is good! Rumbling, tumbling sludge with a burly death metal back bone and tangible nods to the likes of Lurk, Warcrab, Yellowtooth, Crowbar, latter Gorefest , early Mastodon, label/country mates Demonic Death Judge, and for a super obscure reference, now defunct Michigan act, If He Dies, He Dies.

Apparently starting out as a more pure sludge bluesy, stoner rock outfit on their two prior EPs Finland’s Black Royal are now a more beefy, menacing and imposing act with gruffer vocals and a more death metal approach to some of the structures and riffs. The resultant mix is perfect, groovy, hefty but still catchy effort that crosses genres brilliantly while delivering the ageless Luciferian tale.

The guitar tone is fuzzed out, but still dense and heavy, and it’s backed by a throbbing, pulsing bass that carries many of the grooves making tracks like opener “Cryo Volcanic”,   and more commercial, restrained “The Chosen” leap from the speakers with a confident burly stride that commands your attention. The band can rock out here and there as well as heard on the more urgent , but twangy “Denial”.

The balance between bluesy stoner groove and death metal comes out in the whole album but is more prevalent on tracks like the upbeat “Self Worship”, killer standout “Salvation” and the title track. And the use of subtle atmospherics like a piano (i.e. “Self Worship”, “Lightbearer”) or keyboards (the Mastodon ish “Dying Star”) or even a soulful female vocal bridge in moody penultimate track “New World Order”, keep things interesting, not that the riffs alone aren’t enough.

Lightbringer will be one of the albums that will flirt with my year end list. It covers all the bases for me; thick, groovy guitar tone, harsh, gruff vocals and plenty of memorable riffs. It will get bounced off by bigger name bands, but will bounce right back on when I hear “Salvation”.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 5th, 2018


  1. Commented by: Nick K

    I am intrigued… Cool review Erik

  2. Commented by: Jay

    I second that Nick! This is pretty damn good stuff; good change-ups, solid riffs, really tough and burly soundin’.

    And holy shit, you did go super obscure….If He Dies, He Dies! They were solid. I saw them in Pittsburgh years ago.

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