Arts and Entertainment

Band Beat: “Trouble's Coming” From Royal Blood

The best Non-Metal Metal Band is back with a slick and danceable tune keeping guitar-driven music relevant in a world where the game's much different.

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By Cecilia Chen

There are countless songs in the world and only slightly fewer artists, and pretty much all of them are easily accessible not too far into the guts of the digital universe. How do you decide which ones to listen to? Fear not! This column will strive to help you find your next favorite artist, presenting a selection of bands and singers not quite so well known but currently active and worth some of your hard-rationed time.

For the first edition, it seems fitting to roar right in on the (hardly) dulcet tones of Royal Blood, notable for winning the title of Best Nonmetal Band at the Global Metal Apocalypse. If that doesn’t give you any indication of their eccentricity and hardcore-ness, try a quick flick through their most popular songs like “Ten Tonne Skeleton” (2014) and “Little Monster” (2014)—they're not the lightest thing you can listen to. But if you're expecting an all-out assault on the ears, don't worry—they're more than just blazing guitars and thundering drums

With their new single, they've ascended to become a metal band you might actually dance to. This newest track is called “Trouble’s Coming” (2020), heralding the imminent arrival of their third studio album after their previous two records topped the UK’s Albums chart. They waste no time at all, coming straight out the gate with a pounding rhythm of bass guitar and an almost house-like drumbeat that seems to suddenly grab hold of your body and keep it in a vise-like grip with every steady attack. Alternatively clipped and sweeping vocals from frontman Mike Kerr that seem more hip-hop than hard rock work hand in hand with the pluckings of an electric keyboard to propel the song into the chorus, which arrives on a complete wall of sound. As the drums and bass pound on relentlessly, the singer's multi-tracked falsetto comes in to fill all the registers above it, voicing the struggle to overcome feelings of self-doubt and insecurity with lyrics like “Spider web cracks on the mirror / I see someone but not somebody.” There's even a breakdown (if you didn’t already think this song was good enough to work up a sweat to) in between all of this incredibly danceable song’s slickly produced staccato of beats—a brief respite as you prepare for the thunder of its ending.

This band has gone from playing open mic nights to hallowed stages such as Glastonbury, South by Southwest, and Coachella, presenting what is sometimes a hard-to-listen-to genre for those who aren’t hardcore fans into something approachable without losing any of their head-thumping ability. As we see with the extra electronic elements and more focused production on this track, they present as a firmly established band looking in a new direction and willing to experiment for their third album. They’re continuing the brave act of trying to save traditional rock music in a world where popularity has much more to do with image and presentation than technical skill, and packaging skilled instrumentation in a song that can’t be criticized for appealing only to a niche group of out-of-touch audiophiles.

We’ll have to see if they follow through and get a third number one album (at least in Britain), but if this is any indication, there’ll be at least 30 minutes of music that makes you want to move both your head and feet in time to their solid rhythms.