BLACK ROYAL “Earthbound”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Finland’s BLACK ROYAL is yet another in the endless Sargasso Sea of bands screaming for attention in my inbox everyday. Every day, it gets harder to tell bands apart and to find something that distinguishes them from the seething mass. This sludge-infused stoner band is neither the worst or the best that I’ve set ears on.

They are described as a death metal band by their press, which is inaccurate. Unless bands that sound like a thicker MASTODON have suddenly become death metal. In that case, we will soon be describing CLUTCH as death metal. To be fair, they are a pretty heavy band and when they are at their thickest and sludgiest, they have a lot of weight. There’s also kind of cleaner, more progressive edge to their music that pops up. They get off to a strong start with the title track, which has got some good riffs to it. “Conjuration”, “Queen of the Underworld” and “Barren Land” lean more on the rougher, heavier side and are better for it.

Then they have the more MASTODON/BARONESS side to the band, which pops up on “Phoenix Ascending” and “Bleed Your Soul”. It just doesn’t grip as much as the dirtier side of BLACK ROYAL. I’d describe the band as the midpoint in sound between CROWBAR and CLUTCH. As pleasant and heavy as it is, I know in a month I won’t remember hardly a thing from this. Move along, little dogie…