Royal Thunder’s Mlny Parsonz on ‘Crooked Doors,’ Escaping a Cult, Sobriety Struggles + More
Royal Thunder's sophomore album Crooked Doors is an emotionally crushing record that speaks to heartbreak, depression, loneliness, drug use and all sorts of yearning. Lyrically, Crooked Doors can be straight-forward, but one topic fans won't likely catch is about frontwoman Mlny Parsonz escaping from a religious cult.
In various new interviews, Mlny Parsonz spoke out in detail about how she decided to leave her church after nearly a decade, eventually taking guitarist Josh Weaver with her. "I’m not here to tarnish anyone’s name. But it was very charismatic, and they drew in a lot of artists and musicians to make their church very hip," Parsonz told the MetalSucks podcast. "I ended up quitting drugs and viewed it as my way to clean up my life, so in my early 20s I started going to this church and got locked into it."
Parsonz continues, "The last thing that happened to me was I was at a three-day women’s conference and was taken into these back rooms. I was brainwashed into going into this elevator in my mind and coming out on however many floors of how old I was — I was 25 or 26. They were like, 'Go through every year of your life, come out of this elevator and go on floor 1, 2, 3, 4'… it went on for hours because I had to give them all the visions I had for each floor. It was the most f---ed up s--t ever, I was losing my mind. And they did this to me for three days."
"Eventually I woke up and I was like, 'Something’s not right here.' There was a bunch of other s--t," says Parsonz. “'Black Water Vision' is about that, and 'Floor' on this new album is about that church. I woke up one day and I was like, 'I’m never f---ing going back.' I went to the pastor and I’m like, 'I’m gonna take some time off,' thinking in my mind months, thinking in my mind, 'Run for your f---ing life.' … Afterwards we got in the car and I’m like, 'I’m not f---ing going back.' And Josh is like, 'But we have to!' and I’m like, 'No, I’m not going back, he thinks I’m going back in two Sundays, I’m not f---ing going back.'"
Much of that experience also acted as inspiration for Royal Thunder's debut full-length, CVI. Parsonz also spoke about sobriety and a potentially withering romantic relationship with Josh Weaver, who Parsonz was married to during the CVI era. "I am well. I am 12 days sober and experiencing a lot of clarity, and it’s been painful, to be honest, but it’s good," Parsonz told Stereogum. "I am married to this band, and this is my destiny. Josh and I, whether we are together or not, we are going to be best friends and musical partners. That is who we are. Whether or not we’re together [romantically] … maybe. Maybe not. That’s something I don’t want to say yes or no to."