Duel – Valley Of Shadows Heavy Psych Sounds Release Date: 17/05/2019 Running Time: 38:00 Review by Alun Jones 8/10
Duel have been on my radar for quite a while. Despite hearing a few tracks via the band’s social media, I’d never sat down, ear-goggles locked in place, to listen to a full album. So, I was pretty stoked to have the opportunity to review their latest album: “Valley Of Shadows”, released recently by Heavy Psych Sounds.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, these four fiends are responsible for an almighty stoner doom racket; full on heavy rifferama with psychedelic and classic metal references. In case that description alone doesn’t grab you like a graveyard ghoul on the way to an unholy shindig, their whole aesthetic is tripped out in the sort of late-night, B-movie gore that’s lurid enough to make your eyes pop.
It’s like Dracula Has Risen from the Grave sound-tracked by a bunch of longhair ne’er-do-wells, and that’s just how I like it.
‘Black Magic Summer’ opens up the proceedings with some appropriate rain-soaked sound effects, before launching into the heavy-as-a-crypt-door attack. There’s a brilliantly melodic middle section too, adding some light to the gloom.
Second track ‘Red Moon Forming’ has a direct, driving pace that’s infectious and purposely concocted to inspire the raising of horns. ‘Drifting Alone’ has a real classic desert rock vibe, with a cool head shaker riff.
‘Strike And Disappear’ comes on like the vampire Western that Tarantino needs to make. A slower, bluesy pace with a dusty feel, it’s the first taste we get of a very different – and effective – approach. It melts into a ferocious, face pummelling section that screams blood and violence.
Songs like ‘Tyrant On The Throne’ have a classic metal, almost (gasp!) Iron Maiden feel to them. Otherwise, the sound explores more of the head-banging, smoke induced groove of bands like Trouble and The Obsessed.
But just like the best stoner metal movers and shakers, there’s always room for some ZZ Top-style boogie, which particularly comes to the fore in the final track, ‘The Bleeding Heart’.
As always, my sound comparisons are only meant as genuine compliments. Duel manage to create an album full of their own spirit and character, and it’s one hell of a fun ride. At turns hypnotic, fist pummelling, and sombre; “Valley of the Shadows” pulls the stake out of the stoner doom corpse and brings it back to bloody life again.
The last time I actually was involved in a duel, it was a case of duelling banjos. I was on a canoeing trip with some buddies out in the Appalachian back country. We ran into some unsavoury redneck types, one of whom challenged me to a banjo showdown. Of course, I threw in some licks that my old mentor Jimi Hendrix had shown me, and the creepy little weirdo had no chance: I was victorious.
Unfortunately, the locals weren’t too happy and we had a bit of a run-in of sorts with ‘em later. It was all fun and games really, and we were on our way home soon enough. But I tell you: just whatever you do, don’t mention piggies to my buddy Bobby!
01. Black Magic Summer
02. Red Moon Forming
03. Drifting Alone
04. Strike And Disappear
05. Broken Mirror
06. Tyrant On The Throne
07. I Feel No Pain
08. The Bleeding Heart
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Brooklyn, New York Heavy Rock/Classic Metal band Tanith! Huge thanks to Vocalist/Bassist Cindy Maynard for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Cindy Maynard, Bass guitar and vocals. Tanith started in 2017 when Russ Tippins and I decided we wanted to do original music together with a band based out of Brooklyn, NY. We got in touch with our friends Charlie and Keith, and started sorting out a couple of songs which we recorded that November. The music is 100% analogue from recording to mixing to mastering right to the vinyl. We self-financed the release of those songs on a 7”. That went down really well and we got a lot of good feedback, so we just kept going with new material. Pretty soon we had a full length album. That’s when Metal Blade got in touch.
How did you come up with your band name?
Tanith is a character in an old Hammer movie called “The Devil Rides Out”. We liked the sound of her name and also the imagery and symbolism associated with the deity Tanith- the Phoenician Goddess of war and fertility!
What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?
I am from the US and I live in Brooklyn, NY. We have a small scene here but it has kind of dispersed over the last few years. The shows are a fewer and farther between nowadays. I’m talking about bands that play the old school kind of metal I listen to- there are plenty of metal bands around just not the kind I can speak to. Every now and then there will be a great show that a lot of people will come out to, and most of us know each other. A lot of people in the scene seem to find a way to be involved in some way too, whether it be as musicians, artists, photographers etc. which is really cool.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
There’s so many great bass players but I really like John Paul Jones, Steve Harris, and Andy Fraser for the ultimate musical inspiration and technique, then Francis Buchholz, Joe Bouchard and Greg Lindstrom for their really cool lines. Carol Kaye was also a big deal as she showed me how to play a big bass with my small hands. For vocals, probably Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and Cyndi Lauper, although early on my favourite singers were guys like Paul Rogers and Klaus Meine.
What first got you into music?
The radio; I listened to everything on the radio and would tape record it and then play it back to write down the lyrics to songs until I knew them all. So I was always fascinated with singing. I didn’t start playing an instrument until pretty late however.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Uh, I’m already collaborating with Russ Tippins so I’d say that’s pretty amazing! Really it’s a thrill making music with him. As far as other bands, I do think Black Magic is amazing and it would be very cool to do something with them.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
To be honest, I haven’t been to a ton of festivals and really I just hit the small ones with bands I really want to see, so I don’t know much about the bigger ones in Europe. It’s an honour to play any festival, but I’d say Keep It True is on my bucket list because they have such great fans who love the music, they keep it old school and have great quality bands all round.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Well once I got an oversized XL pale blue t-shirt in the mail in an unmarked envelope that said “One of the top 10 best bass players” in a fancy black cursive script. It was definitely an odd thing to get. Like I was going to walk around town wearing this dress of a t-shirt blowing my own horn haha! I never found out who sent it. If anyone else wants to send me a shirt though, I’m a size small by the way. 😉
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
We love our fans! Thanks for all the support, the comments and the messages! We are excited every time someone takes time to write to us and especially fans who come to see us play live.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Phil Lynott of course!
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I like creating music with a group of great people, hearing the fruits of our hard work on a recording, and playing live to our fans. Sometimes the administrative aspect is a real time suck and gets in the way of feeling creative. Oh man and booking shows is something I try to have other people do at all costs!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I’m just learning about all this, but I would say artists need more money through the industry to make doing what they love more doable. So better royalties, advances, and tour support.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
This question is tough! How can I name just one? There’s so many great records. Ok, “Sad Wings of Destiny” by Judas Priest. Absolute masterpiece, it’s so varied and huge.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
When my record player is working properly, vinyl. The big artwork and tactile experience of interacting with the record are ideal. Cassettes are also great and really fun on car trips. Downloads are convenient when you don’t have the music or players for the first two methods.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
The Frost and Fire festival in 2018 was a blast. Great crowd, great fest!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Taking better care of my plants…
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Uh…I could have a David party I suppose. So David Gilmour; David Bowie; David Wayne and…Larry David haha, with a guest appearance by Ozzy Osbourne, just because I love Ozzy. That would be an interesting mix of thoughtful, godly, badass, confrontational and off the wall.
What’s next for the band?
We have a full length release called “In Another Tim”’ (which came out on May 24th on Metal Blade Records). And will play a special NY record release show before heading over to Sweden to play the Muskelrock festival in Tyrolen. This Fall, we hope to do a full tour in the US and in Europe. Stay tuned!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Whoa I just bought some of these for the first time a couple of days ago. A biscuit I’d guess since it looks like a cookie and British people call cookies biscuits. Although it is made of sponge cake…hmm (scratches head)…
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you so much. This was fun. Cheers!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.