After becoming the biggest breaking British rock band with their self-titled 2014 debut album, Royal Blood returns on Warner Bros. with their eagerly anticipated second album How Did We Get So Dark? In November 2016, vocalist/basist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher, along with producer Jolyon Thomas, spent six weeks in a studio in Brussels which featured a warehouse of antique gear. How Did We Get So Dark? was subsequently completed after a final session in London with their debut album's co-producer Tom Dalgety.
The album's first single "Lights Out" ups the ante on their first outing with a wrecking ball of a groove cemented by Thatcher's thunderous rhythms, while Kerr wrangles the twisted invention of his bass riffs to a whole new level. Their patented two-man artillery of carefully constructed melodic aggression is prevalent throughout, especially in "I Only Lie When I Love You," which is a compelling cowbell-assisted reminder of the power of a stop-start riff and a strident chorus. There are times when Royal Blood are more visceral than ever – notably the gargantuan introduction to "Hook, Line and Sinker" and also the intense denouement that brings "Look Like You Know" to a close.
While the album finds Royal Blood refining their melodic might, there are other moments that fulfill their aim to create songs that will add new dimensions to their live sets. Adorned with Kerr's falsetto, "Don't Tell" drops the intensity to mesmerizing effect, while "Where Are You Now?" pulsates with a bounding energy that's quite a step apart from anything else in their catalogue. The Royal Blood palette is also expanded with the inclusion of harmony vocals – something that they didn't use on their debut.