Release date: January 24, 2012
Salt Lake City hard rock troupe, Royal Bliss have slimmed down for the band’s first album on its own Air Castle records, Waiting Out The Storm. Guitarist Chris Harding and bassist Tommy Mortensen have left the band, with new bassist Dwayne Crawford entering the fray. The core of vocalist Neil Middleton, drummer Jake Smith and guitarist Taylor Richards remain. The album title could well be descriptive of the many hurdles (several life altering) the band has had to endure and overcome during the course of its 15 year existence.
The guys have really pulled together on Waiting Out The Storm. The 11 new tracks here really show the progress Royal Bliss have made since its formation 1997. Each obstacle has made the band stronger, and each new song, each new performance has helped hone their craft. Waiting Out The Storm finds the band heavier and edgier than ever before. Produced by Brian Virture (Chevelle, Jane’s Addiction, Korn, Deftones), the album is packed full of energetic, radio friendly, hook heavy, lyrically intuitive, hard rock.
The album kicks off with “I Got This”. Crawford takes the lead with a funky little bass line, while Middleton brings in a breathy vocal performance. Great guitar solo from Richards, and a nice break down. A catchy and memorable start to the album.
The guys get aggressive on “Monster”. Led off by a mood setting scream, the band gets right in your face and never lets up. On the other side, the band taps into its acoustic groove with the classic rock, country-tinged vibe of “Bleed My Soul”. This sounds like an old Rod Stewart and The Faces track. Sometimes you have to purge the poison and let it all hang out.
Middleton calls “Wake Up” a song about how he experienced death for the first time in his life, while “Singing For Our Lives” is a sonic mantra, and a testament to the band’s persistence in the face of adversity.
Next up is “Crazy”. An emotive mid-tempo rocker. Middleton sings with an angsty plaintive plea. “I’m wondering if you’re crazy, just like me…” Every musician’s great regret is the time away from loved ones. Which is the mistress, the music or the one you love? It’s hard to balance the life of a traveling minstrel with that of a family man.
After the atmospheric piano intro, “With A Smile“ comes at you like a right hook. This is the band’s middle finger to the industry that likes to eat you alive.
“Sunburn” has a touch of that Fuel vibe. A bit of grungy guitar work, marks this crunchy rocker. We are all marked by our experiences, even the mistakes and foolishness of youth, but those scars make us who we are.
Every track on Waiting Out The Storm has an undercurrent of intensity buried beneath the hooky melodies and tight performances. The band has taken another major step forward here. Each track hits with emotional punch and many of the songs leave an indelible impression on the listener. Those have yet to discover Royal Bliss are in for one of those sweet ah-ha moments.
For fans of bands such as Pop Evil, Halestorm, Bobflex and Rains.
Standout tracks include: “I Got This”, “Crazy”, “Bleed My Soul” and “With A Smile”