Salt Lake City based Royal Bliss will release a new album, simply titled, Royal Bliss, April 19, on Air Castle Records.
Although The Truth EP was available in 2016, this 11-song offering is the first full length collection since 2014’s Chasing The Sun. Royal Bliss will also celebrate their twenty-first year as a band the day after the album is released. At the core is Neal Middleton (vocals), Taylor Richards (guitar) and Jake Smith (drums) with bassist Brian Hennesy rounding out the group.
While the band continue to play by their own rules, to anyone that was uncertain of the path Royal Bliss were on these past couple of years, I say this. They never really left their Rock ‘n’ Roll roots, they just turned the volume down for a while. With this album however, not only are these songs exciting, there are a couple of unexpected musical left hooks that are bold and in-your-face. Neal Middleton has stated this new music is “classic Royal Bliss,” as in Life In-Between classic.
Middleton recently spoke with their local Salt Lake City radio station, KBER101, about why they are calling the album Royal Bliss, “I feel like this is Royal Bliss to a T. This album has everything on it and I really feel like we’ve evolved as song writers and as people and the stories on this record, I think, are some of the most honest stories that we have.”
When you take the time to listen to the lyrics, the stories unfold and chances are you will find some are relatable. While a lot of songs are about finding the fire within and finding the strength to overcome, ultimately Middleton shares, “Whatever that pain is, you have to fight through it and rise above it.”
For anyone that has kept up with Royal Bliss since 2018, you will recognize three singles, including album opener, Hard and Loud. Appropriately titled, this is a straight up rock song and it immediately sets the pace for the majority of the record.
The most recent single, Pain, as described by Taylor Richards, “Is about the internal struggles we all have.” While everyone deals with their own kind of pain, whether emotional, physical or other, the key take away is that we can all overcome it. Ultimately, we are in charge of our own path. This song packs so much angst and drive, I can see it becoming a personal theme song for many.
“I am the one
the only one
who writes the words that tell my story
I am alive
My only life
I know it’s time to
take away my pain”
“Pain is that heavy rock n roll Royal Bliss song that I think a lot of our fans have missed for the past few years. We’re back to it.” –Neal Middleton
During Paranoid, the slow musical build-up works well alongside the fast-paced sounding chorus. Around the minute and a half mark, we’re treated to a unique and fuzz-filled guitar tone that is part of a heavier sounding breakdown. This calm and chaos fit quite well with the subject matter. They change gears a bit with the first toe-tapper, Adrenaline. Once the song starts, you can’t help but move along with the high-hat sounds that are in perfect time with the steady drum beat. This song has a bit of a reggae flow and vibe and to be honest, is quite addicting. By the time you get to the guitar solo, you’ll be ready to reach for the repeat button once the song ends.
While Light Of The Moon initially starts off as a slower song, when it kicks in, it is mighty powerful. Not only is this a classic sounding Royal Bliss song, it’s lyrically emotional. The music is also enhanced by what appears to be a lap steel guitar. Devil With Angel Eyes was originally released as a single almost a year to the date and we wrote about it here. Our opinion has not changed and it’s still just as enjoyable to listen to now as it was then. This one however, is the only newer song with guest vocals by Rickae Robbins. While this isn’t a hard or heavy, like the ones before it, that dirty guitar tone holds onto the thread that can be heard running all throughout this album.
The back half of this album is full of all sort of tasty sounds and a couple of unexpected surprises. With Be Original, after some slight reverb/rewind sounding wizardry at the beginning, the stomp, stomp beat pattern hits. When the chunky sounding guitar drops in, it’s followed by backing vocal “whoa, whoa’s.” The first line, “Long live rock ‘n’ roll, come on everybody welcome to the show,” says it all. This is another down and dirty tune with some truly unique sounding and attention grabbing guitar playing.
You’re Killing Me is another heavy hitter. A big sounding number that centers on a bombastic drum part and creative guitar work. This flows seamlessly into How You Like Me Now, which is massive in sound and features an intense guitar solo and an accompanying rumbling bass line. In case it wasn’t clear, the guitar playing on this album is sensational and plays a key part in the overall sound.
Okay folks, before you listen to this next one, you’re going to want to hold on to whatever is closest to you; a loved one, your cat, that bag of chips you’re eating from. Fight Back is the Holy “you know what” moment on the album that will either blow you away or cause confusion. As in, “Did I accidentally skip to another artist’s song?” This is THE most unexpected song to come from Royal Bliss but it is killer. KILLER. The vocal flow is totally different compared to most Royal Bliss songs and there are punk elements and grunge influences all over this one , not to mention an unruly guitar solo. “Fight back! Don’t back down!”
The album comes to an end with a campfire style song. Although there is no hiding what S.W.I.M.U. stands for once the song starts, I will leave it up to the listener to find out for themselves. While it’s the slowest song on the album, it is a real glimpse into the band’s life on the road. The slide guitar playing is raw and fits perfectly with the overall tone of the song.
When it’s all said and done, the Royal Bliss bloodline runs throughout this entire piece of work. Their passion for making music translates to an album that will keep you on your toes and have you enjoying the ride along the way. This is music you will want to listen to over and over again. PLAY IT LOUD!
Find all new album pre-order options here. Items include digital download, autographed CD, album artwork shirt, silk screened poster designed Jake Smith and other one of a kind bundles, including unique instrument art created by Brian Hennesy.
Find all tour dates here.