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Best metal band: Royal Thunder

Staff Pick

When Royal Thunder released its eponymous EP in 2009, there was an unmistakable air of something powerful burning within its thick, Zeppelin-esque grooves. Three years later, the arrival of the group's proper full-length, CVI, dispels any doubt that it's time to crown a new king of Atlanta metal. The key to Royal Thunder's dark allure lies within the atmospheric nuances of such distorted electric blues elegies as "Parsonz Curse," "Shake and Shift," and "Sleeping Witch." Each new riff strides elegantly past the clichés of stoner metal basics, creating a sound as clawing and ethereal as it is Southern. Singer/bassist Mlny Parsonz's wail is an anthemic counterpart to guitarist Josh Weaver's lumbering riffs, and when weighed against drummer Lee Smith and rhythm guitarist Josh Coleman's haunted assaults, the group finds a creative spark smoldering somewhere between metal and hard rock, all the while rising above both genres to keep the fire burning brightly.

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