Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark?
Music journalists aren’t infallible when it comes to predictions, but I seem to have hit the nail on the head with Royal Blood. When their beloved and critically claimed debut dropped in 2014, I couldn’t escape the feeling that their second album would be a watered down rehash, and unfortunately it seems I was correct. While every track on their eponymous album was a hit in waiting, there’s not a single song here at that same high standard. Instead How Did We Get So Dark? feels like a collection of offcuts and B sides. If this were a movie it would be a crude sequel designed to cash in on the surprise success of the original. It may as well be called “Royal Blood 2: The Re-Bloodening”. Sure, it’s not bad per se, but there is simply no comparison between the two.
If the band are to stick to their unique dynamic of simply drums and demented bass witchcraft, then there are only two routes they can go. The first is to go for the heavy doom driven sound akin to Black Sabbath, perhaps exploring longer and more complex compositions. The second is to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and aim for high-octane speed and aggression. Ideally with their second album they should be dabbling a little with each, while still keeping enough hints of the debut so as not to alienate fans. Instead they have done neither and have simply stalled at the starting blocks. Only time will tell if they will push themselves in the future or just continue to stagnate. They made one great album which is something to be proud of, but it’s not looking like they will live up to the expectation of becoming Britain’s next big rock band.