Texans Duel – who feature members of Scorpion Child, so memorably once described by this organ’s editor as being ‘what Stillwater from Almost Famous would sound like if they were a real band’ – are back with a new full-lengther, their fourth, and my word it’s a bit of a corker.
There are no flashes of Jeffrey Bebe here, thank the maker – but there are plenty of moments when Duel reveal themselves to be totally and utterly the real deal.
The first of these is Anchor, a thoroughly convincing slice of seventies-inflected hard rock wherein the vocals – sadly uncredited on the detail-light download version of the album I received to review – take on the otherworldly tone of Hawkwind‘s Dave Brock as the raw guitars of Derek Halfmann and Tom Frank churn the maelstrom of melodic might underneath. Bite Back follows this template, adding appealing gang vocals to the mic in the chorus and a sweet, sweet piece of lead work that might lead one to thoughts of that fleeting moment in time when Paul Chapman and Michael Schenker were both in UFO at the same time. It’s a space rock/Brit metal hybrid of some depth and sophistication, but we haven’t heard the best of Duel in their 2021 iteration yet…
… That accolade is given to the monstrous Wave of Your Hand, a song that, had it been written in 1978 would now be one of heavy rock’s revered cornerstones – of that I’m sure. Riding in on a proto-Maiden gallop, the song builds quickly to a magnificent, albeit brief radio-friendly chorus – think Budgie in their pomp laying it on thick over a backing of Nazareth – which is quite superb.
Quite superb. The final three tracks don’t quite reach that high water mark again, although Lizard Tongue has it’s moments, but that doesn’t detract from the sheer overall listenability of In Carne Persona. Sure, what these guys are doing has all been done before – but you won’t find many currently doing the rounds who do it with as much style or skill as Duel. Great stuff!
In Carne Persona releases on October 1st.