yoralbcoverRoyal Bliss
Chasing The Sun
Air Castle Records

Chasing the Sun kicks off with “Welcome,” a bouncy alternative rock track bringing back undertones from the early 2000s. Abruptly ending, “Welcome” transitions into the slowed intro of “Cry Sister,” the lead single. It becomes apparent right away that vocalist Neal Middleton isn’t fooling around. The powerful track appropriately crescendos from the verses, slowly down only for a brief moment of reprieve prior to the final chorus to make their message clear.

Unfortunately, “Rock You All Night Long” doesn’t carry the same intensity. The poppy intro loses the momentum the previous songs worked so hard to build. Luckily, “Dreamer” follows with some left behind touches from Life In-Between, but don’t be fooled. Royal Bliss have worked hard to create a new album, not repeating their past successes. It is fueled by the overlaid guitar track, discoursing its accompaniments and creating an overall uneasiness to its straight-forward drumming keeping the listener ever conscious of time lost in reverie. Chasing the Sun is aptly named for its lyrical content and musical flow, and I can’t imagine a better choice

The flow is continued with “It Haunts Me” droning a mindless beat listeners can’t help but stare at a spot on the wall and bob their heads to in catatonia. In typical Royal Bliss fashion, “Drink My Stupid Away” pauses from the heavier elements, introducing a piano-driven structure. For a the mellow verses, it packs a powerful emotional punch to the gut both lyrically and through the melody. “And I’m scared I may never feel this again,” Middleton’s voice croons before the building waves sweep over the chorus.

“Alive to See” boosts the reverb on the vocals, leaving an eerie emptiness after the solo. The guitar plays an important role in setting the mood, mechanically steering verses into soaring  melancholy refrains and sweeping into the wah-solo without release. The sadness only continues in “Impossible.” Whether it’s lost love or the long life touring away from home, Middleton’s lyrics are easily relatable on many levels. In fact, the song was written while on tour about always being away from his family. The sorrow he feels comes through the microphone with pristine clarity as he unleashes his message toward himself: “Don’t you say that you’re sorry. That’s impossible.”

“Turn Me On” is a rocking track Royal Bliss will hopefully grace live audiences with. It’s format could easily facilitate bouncing in the pit. Its solo isn’t very technical and its repetitive as all get up, but that’s the beauty of it. The hammering snare only powers the energy behind the song.Ending the album, “Home” follows suit with previous albums. The acoustic track is almost a farewell to fans until the next time. Vocalist Middleton laments about the music business while he holds back tears about being on the road

“Oh, I’ve got this music in my veins but that don’t seem to matter much these days. Yeah, so many people seem so fake and the reason why they play, it ain’t the same ‘cause they don’t write their songs. Just hit the tracks and play along while Johnny Cash rolls over in his grave.”

The duality between his love for playing music and his absence with his family comes through loud and clear.If you’re a fan of Hurt or Cinder, you’ll be able to pick through the subtleties that are absent in current mainstream rock radio. Funded primarily by fans, Chasing the Sun pumps a more heartfelt message through the veins of its listeners: bands don’t have to sell out to make a good album. -Chris DeWuske

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