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Album review: Brookroyal shows staying power with 'Cycles of Life & Sound'

Album cover for Brookroyal's sophomore release, "Cycles of Life & Sound".
Album cover for Brookroyal's sophomore release, "Cycles of Life & Sound".

Brookroyal's "Cycles of Life & Sound" album


I will be completely honest with my readers: Brookroyal is not my usual kind of band. This alternative rock band from Saint Louis are heavy on guitars, heavy on drums, and heavy on shouting and angry lyrics. Normally, I would be instantly turned away from such a band. But there's something in Brookroyal's sophomore album, "Cycles of Life & Sound", that works for me, and it definitely works for local listeners.

"Cycles of Life & Sound" rarely sounds like it is capable of slowing down. From the start, with its opening track "Show Your Teeth", it cranks into its highest gear and doesn't wind down until the very end. All the components work together, from some excellent and highly capable guitar work from Jason Zykan, Jon Lohman and Adam Steward to David Brown's high octane drum sets that provide a steady beat for the entire album. And then we have front man Jack Wiese, whose vocals are so upfront and honest and lacking in any sort of gimmicks, it's hard to dislike them.

The fourteen tracks on "Cycles of Life & Sound" tend to blend together quite easily. This is not meant as an insult. It's a hard rock album that is easy to listen to. They stick to their sound brand and keep with it with rare deviations. Quite frankly, it's nice to find a band who keeps it consistent and doesn't try to experiment halfway through an album.

One of those deviations, however, is Brookroyal's "Drama Queen", a standout track on their second album. I usually loathe songs that go into great detail on guys singing about how terrible their girlfriends are. This one, however, is pretty great, especially with that intro that sucks me in every time. Another great one is "Raise A Glass", which is a pretty rousing song about living and going on with a dedicatory drink in hand.

Believe me, I'm not saying the other tracks are forgettable. In fact, they are pretty solid songs, several of them radio ready and jammable, like "Show Your Teeth" and "Jump". That is exactly what this album is in one word: solid. It won't be breaking any new ground with fans of the genre, but at this point, it doesn't really need to. Brookroyal has found their sound and they are smart enough to keep with it to the end.

Given how many rock bands spring up in Saint Louis every year, Brookroyal is a success story. Their album even has Story Of the Year's Dan Marsala featuring on one of the songs. The band sound good on CD and I bet they sound even better on a live stage. They have performed at Pop's Concert Venue, so I'm assuming it's a yes on the former. I'm looking forward to seeing how Brookroyal develop beyond their sophomore effort as they reach a broader audience.

You can purchase Brookroyal's "Cycles of Life & Sound" at Amazon, iTunes, Vintage Vinyl, and the band website. It is also currently streaming on Spotify.