Duel – Valley Of Shadows

Valley Of Shadows Cover

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!

TRACKLISTING:
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

BAND LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/DUELTEXAS/
https://www.instagram.com/dueltexas/
https://duel3.bandcamp.com/

RECORD LABEL LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/
https://www.heavypsychsounds.com/
https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/

 

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.

Stew – Hot EP

Hot EP Cover

Stew – Hot EP
Unsigned
Release Date: 01/06/2018
Running Time: 17:13
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

Have you ever had that warm, fuzzy feeling of bliss and contentment when you stick a CD on and straight away it reminds you of times gone past? Yes? Well, that’s exactly the feeling I got when I started playing this new EP from Swedish band Stew. I didn’t really know what to expect as, once again, I hadn’t read the notes that came with the EP, but I was (very) pleasantly surprised.

Stew hail from Lindesberg / Ӧrebro in Sweden, forming in early 2017 and are made up of the power trio of Markus Asland on bass and vocals, Nicklas Jansson on guitar and Nicklas Dahlgren on drums. The music they play is a mix of classic rock, blues and soul, heavily influenced by the late 60’s and 70’s era.

The bands notes state that they play a “gritty and nostalgic fusion of classic rock and blues inspirations” and they are not wrong! You could almost have been transported back four decades as soon as this EP kicks in with the track ‘Might Be Keeping You’, which, by the way was picked for Classic Rock Magazine’s Best Of The Year in 2018!!

And Classic Rock, themselves, couldn’t have summed it up any better if they had tried; “spewing embers of psychedelic wonder, Stew emerged from Sweden this year with an album so far out that half of us still haven’t come back. This track is a highlight, a deep, rumbling ode to the days when metal was acid-rock and life was consistently wild.”

With groovy riffs, strong vocals (love this guy’s voice!) and swinging drums this is classic yet with a modern twist. With a little bit of blues, a little bit of rock and killer guitars, these guys have nailed the sound of the 60’s / 70’s with true musicianship.

With influences stated by the band including the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Free, Deep Purple, Grandfunk Railroad, Buddy Miles, Rory Gallagher and Spooky Tooth, these guys wouldn’t have been out of place at the great Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Despite only being around for just about two years, this band sounds like it is a seasoned veteran of the 60’s and 70’s and have decided to get back together for a reunion tour, playing all their old hits.

I loved this EP from the very moment it started and the only gripe I have with it is that’s it’s just not long enough! Just as I am really getting into it, it finishes. So, my next comment would be, I am REALLY looking forward to an album when one is done. I think that would be on my play list for a very long time to come!

The only other thing I can comment on about this EP and band is the fact that they are unsigned! Why these guys haven’t been snapped up by a record company is beyond me, but I hope they are very soon. With a little bit of support, Stew could really go places!!

TRACKLISTING:
1 Might Be Keeping You
2 If This Will Be
3 Tongue Tied
4 Dig For Gold

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/stewsweden/
https://twitter.com/Stew13434878
https://www.instagram.com/stew_band/
https://stew1.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh6gQxEftIRnjg_nxDmThwQ

 

Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 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.