Not to be confused with the Milwaukee electro-pop troupe of the same name, The Royal are a five-piece metalcore outfit hailing from Eindhoven. More than four years on from formation, ‘Seven’ represents the group’s major label debut and the first many will hear of them. Decisively closer to the metal side of the coin, they could represent a refreshing slant on a genre that has lately grown repetitive, wearisome and, well, generic.
It’s quickly clear from ‘Thunder’ that The Royal do not intend to break the mould however; doomy licks supplement a rather flat and subdued opener that is followed by the similarly average ‘Feeding Wolves’. The only notable point to take from a decidedly weak first half is ‘Seven’’s squeaky clean production; safe and compressed, Sem Pisarahu’s vocal capabilities reduced to colourless, mid-range mediocrity.
The titular and – you guessed it – the seventh track is promising for all of the fourteen seconds of its prickly introduction. Unfortunately, it turns out to be another messy affair lacking direction or clarity of thought, and it is unclear how the song made the cut for the record, let alone inspired its name.
Ten tracks of meandering metal blend together before the first decent guitar riff – the climax of the slow-burning ‘Draining Veins’, tellingly free from Pisarahu for a minute and a half. The album’s conclusion altogether proves to be its strength, with ‘Viridian’’s insistent chorus leaving a rare, albeit brief, impression.
Everything about ‘Seven’ feels hashed together – from the artwork to the needless piano that bookends ‘Counterculture’, an air of half-heartedness pervades the work. Not one track defines it in a positive light or would be worthy of a single. The move to a major label is the ruin of some bands; The Royal could do worse than take a step back and recognise the early symptoms.
‘Seven’ by The Royal is out now on Long Branch Records.
Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)