- Purple, red and black splatter on white vinyl (Limited Edition) $25
- CD $10
- Fears of the Dead
- This Old Crow
- The Kraken
- Fell to the Earth
- On the Edge
- When the Pigs are Dead
- Locked Outside
Release Date: February 11, 2016
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds Records
Let’s go ahead and judge Duel by the cover of their debut album “Fears of the Dead.” The background is red, The Grim Reaper stares off into the distance, and the band’s name is written in a font common for horror movies. My guess is that this Austin, Texas four piece has been raised on a steady diet of slasher films and Danzig. And what do you know, that’s exactly what we get to hear.
What makes these horror-doom rockers so interesting to listen to is the general good times they’re serving up. The lyrics are dark, yes, but the palm muted riffs that explode into infectious choruses turn each song into a celebration. Such is the case with how “This Old Crow” bounces around between rollicking guitar riffs, simple lyrics, and a crisp snap of the snare drum. And when singer Tom Frank sings “it’s time to release the kraken!” in the stage-ready third cut, all fists in attendance will fight gravity and start punching at the sky. In short, Side A has you running to your turn table and placing the needle back at the beginning to go through all of this one more time.
Feel free to do that but let us not forget that where there’s a Side A, there’s also a Side B. It’s on this side that the burl makes way for cleaner melodies. Opener “On the Edge” offers up a taste of some quality proto-punk which is balanced by the doomier 8 minute closer “Locked In.” Between these two songs lies a homegrown bluesy shuffle in “Electricity,” a song that really takes the cake once Tom Frank hits his higher register in the chorus. “When the Pigs are Fed” is a cut that drips 1970’s classic rock and again uses the snappy snare drum to drive the chorus. Once “Locked In” closes out the record it’s hard to believe these 38 entertaining minutes of horror-doom and good time rock n’ roll have already passed us by.