Royal Blood “S/T”
The success of Royal Blood’s debut album must have come as a bit of a shock to the band, after all, not many rock bands have a number one selling album these days. Importantly, the band have achieved this by developing a strong fan base which has been swelled by their staggering live performances at many festivals over the past year or so.
The album begins with the huge “Out Of The Black”, it has a massive sound that recalls Led Zeppelin or, as a more latter day reference, Muse. It’s a dark and brooding monster of a song and a great intro to both the band and the album. They up the ante even further with “Come On Over” with its thrashy intro, which then blends in to the more anthemic chorus. Despite the continued heavy riffing on “Figure It Out” there is also a funkier feel to the track which is more reminiscent of The Black Keys. “You Can Be So Cruel” has a similar feel due to the rumbling drums and the stop/start guitar line.
This all builds us up to “Little Monster”, a song which is surely recognisable to everyone and must be a huge tune when they play it live. It pretty much lives up to its title and once again has the same bombastic approach that has served Muse so well in recent years. Songs like this and “Careless” are clearly designed for playing to huge arenas or big fields packed with fans. In contrast, “Blood Hands” moves along slowly like a giant snake and “Loose Change” manages to combine having a more contemporary sound with a dark and sludgy feel.
They then eventually ease off the gas with the final track on the album, “Better Strangers”. It finally gives us a slight breather, with a song which at least begins with a lighter sound. It’s not long though until they build up the power and intensity again to finish with a powerful closer.
Once you listen to this album the success it has achieved doesn’t really come as a surprise. It shares aspects from some of the biggest rock acts in recent years e.g. Muse, Black Keys and Jack White’s various outfits. Its sound is quite traditional in many senses, with its heart in the dark rock of Led Zep or even Black Sabbath. As an album it’s all consuming and has an intense and heavy feel to it. As individual songs though they really all stand up as powerful, strong compositions, all fit for releasing as singles. Importantly, they are also built for playing live and this is a great reason for the band to have achieved their huge success.