“Royal Burnout” is the sophomore album from Colorado-based Doom/Rock quartet, Stone Deaf, and right away, this is one of those albums that grabs you by the collar, gives you a smack upside the head, and makes you pay attention. Whether it be the super fuzzed-out guitars, the old-school British Punk inspired vocals, or the creepy carnival vibes that come across in certain songs, this album will certainly find ways to keep you enthralled throughout its 33 minutes.
The album starts off with the lead single from the album, Spitshine, and right off the bat it creates an almost unsettling vibe with the use of a creepy sounding children’s toy, or a similar sounding music box. This quickly gives way to the distorted bass, and pounding guitars that were previously mentioned. The vocals are very reminiscent of The Dead Kennedy’s, in my opinion, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing here.
Next up is Room #240, which provides some interesting vocal work from guitarist, Dustin Chapin. The vocals are slow, and drawn out, but not in a way that makes them hard to understand. The really interesting thing I find in this song, is the very odd, almost out of key sounding guitar solo. It starts off very dissonant, before going into the main melody of the song.
Our next step in this journey is Buzzards. It’s at this point in the album that drums start getting really repetitive, as it sounds like almost the same drum pattern from the two previous songs. This song features some great guitar melodies from Chapin, that tend to become the trend for most of the album.
Monochrome finally changes up the drum pattern, with a tendency to stop and start again. It’s an interesting pattern, that I feel isn’t heard enough. This song features a rather repetitive guitar riff, with some underlying accents on the keyboard, also played by Chapin. We’re also treated to an unconventional, and somewhat haunting guitar solo, that breathes some fresh air into the albums sound.
Boozy Spool brings in the creep factor with some unexplained sounds and static in the beginning, before punching you in the face with a super heavy riff, that is reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, in the sense that you can just imagine it being some giant creature stalking around, looking for it’s prey.
Deathwish 62 continues the creep factor heard in the previous song with an unsettling guitar/keyboard line that’s played underneath the rest of the band. Chapin’s vocals are very obviously inspired by old-school British Punk bands, and it really shows in this song.
That Lefty Request just doesn’t give us a break from the creep-factor, starting things off with what sounds like an old commercial for a carnival, or more specifically, a carousel. The vocals here take a bit of a depressing turn here, sounding more somber, and brooding than heard in previous songs. This also happens to be the first song that brings in bassist Cody Isaman on backing vocals, which are used to great effect.
The album closer, in an odd move, is the title track. This particular song features a guitar solo that is quite chaotic, when compared to the ones that preceded it. The vocals also continue the depressing trend that was previously heard on That Lefty Request.
Overall, I believe this is one of those albums that could potentially bring in new fans for the band, and certainly disprove the theory of the “Sophomore slump” that tends to plague most bands when it comes to their second album.