Review: “Deathwatch” by The Royal

…and the chamber spins three. Eindhoven, Holland natives The Royal have returned with their third studio album entitled “Deathwatch” having signed to Long Branch Records, an imprint of Germany’s SPV Records for the release. Their DIY work ethic, desire to tour constantly and put in the hard yards as well as their modern take on the Metalcore sound has earned them many fans and the appearance at UK Tech-Fest for the past two years.

“Pariah” gets things underway and the first thing that strikes you is the change in Semeul Pisarahu’s vocals. After a seemingly Devildriver inspired riff gets underway, the vocal range is improved with a deeper growl and raw quality that wasn’t apparent in previous offerings. Maybe the combination of the hard touring life and the production of the album have had their effect and it’s for the better. The song itself is a pile driver of a song and exactly what the band are known for, a storming modern take on the Metalcore sound. “Savages” brings with it some bounce with some arty spoken word and riffs a plenty from the bands dual axe attack Pim Wesselink and JD Liefting. The thought provoking depth to the lyrics about the savage nature of humanity is something that lasts well beyond the music. The chorus could easily go clean with the change in guitar tone but the band have made a clear decision to keep with the harsh vocals for this one. “State Of Dominance” has some buried synths in the mix and a more traditional Metal riffs with an almost Cathedral like quality and some glorious lead flourishes that lift a slower tune up to a new level.

“Soul Sleeper” wears it’s influence on its sleeve with its opening lead riff being very close that of “Slit Wrist Theory” from Alaskan Metalcore heroes 36 Crazyfists. The band break through that lead part with some powerhouse chugging from the second guitar before going full throttle into their onslaught for a step up in pace and energy. That intro is then developed into an impressive lead part that overlays the verse and chorus really well and creates an ambient element to the sound. Some collosal pause breaks, something the band are known for, bring things home while a break mid-song for an ambient synth part and the sound of crashing waves upon a shore is a really nice atmospheric touch. Album titled track “Deathwatch” features Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake who are a band moving in very similar circles to The Royal and could easily tour together. Lyrically a finger pointing anthem against the naysayers of the scene and those who would stab you in the back, it’s on point. Kinoshita mixed up rap screams with some slower harsh spoken words while the band bring some dark atmospherics with some icy buried synths and crushing slower guitar work. Stepping up for a fast one “Exodus Black” launches headlong into the verse before 10 seconds of intro has hit the ground running. Lyrically about standing strong against their enemies, it’s a song that sees Pisharau reach some shriller tones with some longer uncleans. The synths take on a music box quality mid track bring back the riffs to punch through.

“Nine For Hell” was the first single from the album and released some two months prior to the album. It probably features the best of the drumming performances with some powerhouse kit work from Tom Von Ekerschot appearing throughout. Again, Pisharau touches those shriller tones at the end of some uncleans perhaps pointing to a Black Metal influence as the song plays out. It’s a classic The Royal track, “Bleigh!” rich, high energy and big Metalcore riffs. You couldn’t ask for more. “Lone Wolf” makes the previously buried icy cold synths a bigger part of the sound bringing in the tune with a powerful atmospheric intro. Youri Keulers delivers his finest work on the album with his bassline on this cut as the guitar work breaks the synths and the band return to their core sound. Lyrically about escaping personal demons causing agony it’s another thought provoking cut that is on point with the state of Mental Health being in the focus of society at this point. “Avalon” brings some Asian flair with the synths in the opening that are broken by the bands core sound coming the fore before reappearing buried later on. Stuccato riffage and some powerful drawn out unclean growls help decorate the pummelling kit and bass to create what should be a new live favourite. Having a song title like “Glitch” and with some of the synth work appearing on the album you might have thought the band would be bring an industrial influenced tune to close out the album. Far from it, the synths are almost abandoned in favour of some high class Metalcore lead flourishes as Pisharau takes on humanities ability to design its own demise. An epic pause before a final brutal breakdown and vocal line is a fine closing to an album of fine quality. The Royal have certainly upped their game with some impressive work that will no doubt see them building their fan base [7.5/10]

Tracklisting:
1. Pariah
2. Savages
3. State Of Dominance
4. Soul Sleeper
5. Deathwatch (feat. Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake)
6. Exodus Black
7. Nine For Hell
8. Lone Wolf
9. Avalon
10. Glitch

“Deathwatch” by The Royal is out now via Long Branch Records

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