The Pitch: Dutch metalcore band The Royal carry the torch for the early 2000's sound on their new album via Long Branch Records. FFO: August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying, Unearth
What I Like: The Royal have clearly been listening to a lot of August Burns Red. So much so that I could almost end the review at that. From the melodic, hook-heavy approach to classic riffs right down to the choice of distortion, Deathwatch is like a doppel-Constellations. Tracks like "Nine For Hell" and Savages" further seal the deal with obvious songwriting parallels and even MIDI-sounding backing melodies. Listen to the latter starting at around the 1 minute mark and tell me I'm wrong. There are a few guitar parts that also make me think of early As I Lay Dying, but if you're going to be compared to other bands they may as well be the best in the genre. Given that I am partial to riff-heavy albums and prefer this heavily melodeath-inspired approach to djent, it's a winner with me. The band do also throw in a few Eastern-flavored synth parts as on "State Of Dominance" and "Deathwatch" to shake things up.
Critiques: All of these tracks are fine. In fact, I quite like them... but something is off. I can't tell if it's the production or the recording process, but it sometimes ends up coming off as a little robotic and souless. A key factor in crafting solid metalcore is having an emotional grip on the listener. The best albums make me physically want to break something. The Royal come close to this on tracks like "Glitch," but otherwise I'm feeling pretty detached. This may look like Messengers, but like Twin Peak's Mr. C, something is missing inside.
The Verdict: Deathwatch is a consistently enjoyable album that should please fans of the peak metalcore era. The Royal have all of the right musical foundations in place, but I would like to see them work a little harder on performance and production. Less gloss, more feeling.
Flight's Fav's: Pariah, Exodus Black, Glitch
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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