Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dead Sara and Royal Thunder: Rock is a Woman

mlny parsonz
Mlny is power.
The lineage of ladies tearing up some rock n roll, be it heavy or smooth is long and storied. And it's important to note because as much as we can say it shouldn't matter if they are male or female, so long as they're good, the stigma, roadblocks and flat out victimization of women in rock makes those that succeed that much more vital. In a strange. ironic and troubling way it adds to their appeal that there is this history of an industry (and a culture, really) that is as much against them as it is about exploiting them. So to this day, I always feel like there's more pure rock rebellion and badassery going on when I hear a strong woman's vocals at full volume, destroying her own throat if she must, just to get something out. And because of this, I can't stop listening to two bands in particular lately: Dead Sara and Royal Thunder.

Emily Armstrong's vocals are what rock dreams are made of. There's really nothing else I can say about it beyond that. She somehow has a sweetness that is wrapped in a fuck it all rasp or maybe it's the rasp that breaks through the shell of sweetness. Or maybe, oh who the fuck knows? Look, I'm sure this can be analyzed and dissected by people that know more about this stuff than I do, but really, just listen to her and feel the full range of expression that comes through. That damaged yell is the sound of catharsis which is the sound of rock n roll at it's most basic. Whether it's sexual, angry or just simply rebellious for the sake of it, it all begins with that sound. It's Janis Joplin, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant and whoever the hell else you can think of all wrapped up in this one woman who still makes it hers. 

Then there's Mlny Parsonz of Royal Thunder, adding a witchy quality and subtle sense that you might get your ass kicked. No matter how personal and vulnerable her lyrics get (and they do) she is not someone you feel like you can fuck with. Any pain she exposes is done in the service of taking power from it with her voice, which is another vital element of the rock catharsis. Royal Thunder is heavy metal in a very traditional sense while at the same time encompassing some more modern forms of the genre. Because of that, Mlny in every way, transcends the concept of "girl who rocks" and becomes a perfect vessel for the history of Metal from Sabbath through the 80s (I hear some Ratt in there, in a good way) and beyond, taking grunge, sludge and whatever else with her. They tend to keep it slow and deep and there's no better voice for it as far I'm concerned. The fact that she also plays bass like a boss is just a bonus but not one that should be overlooked. 

Now go play their music, loud as fuck, as intended. 

erin armstrong
Erin Armstrong takes flight.

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