I’m a hobbyist guitar player and in the last year I’ve learned a ton and seen my playing improve. Tom Frank plays a role in my education when he contributed to my In Search of Tone series (thanks Tom!). I’ve been attempting to write my own riffs and eventually some songs and it’s not easy. I’m struggling to even settle on a riff worth working on – haha. I have a lot of respect for musicians who put their heart and soul into what they do.
This isn’t a review of my own terrible phone recordings though. Duel is releasing their fourth album titled In Carne Persona on October 1st and the fact that they’ve created four albums worth of material that is still so damn good, is something I’m only really getting to appreciate now that I see first hand how hard it can be to write a riff, let alone a song.
Children Of The Fire is Duel at its best. They kick that gate open with an epic riff and harmonic leads. Tom enters with his catchy vocals reminiscent of Neil Fallon of Clutch. I haven’t had the pleasure to experience Duel live yet, but that day is coming soon! I hear they have a ton of energy on stage and I can easily imagine this song kicking off an epic night of music.
Duel start off the album reaching back to their roots of Fears If The Dead offering us listeners a similar vibe. They don’t dwell in the past too long though offering just a taste of the good ol’ days. The Veil tells us Duel is ready to broaden their horizon as they flex those creative muscles. If you’re one of those people who liked their first album, then go ahead and put Children Of The Fire on repeat and reminisce of days gone by. If you’re ready to see what Duel can do, then let’s dive deep further into this album.
As the catchy first two minutes of The Veil fade out into a single note, the psychedelic side of Duel begins to shine. Shaun Avants bass riff holds it down with some trippy guitar. It’s not long and drawn out but just enough break before a high energy end.
It’s moments like these that make this album shine in my opinion. I like to think of them as little psychedelic easter eggs hidden throughout the album for those heavy rock fans who dabble in the psychedelic genre from time to time. The intro to Anchor has some trippy sounds opening the song and a fast-paced drum beat laid down by Justin Collins to carry the craziness into the harmonic dual guitar riffs. Another high energy song I look forward to seeing live one day.
Transitioning between the psychedelic riffs and the hard-hitting wall of sound creates a fantastic dynamic…
The power of the first three songs is brought to a sudden halt on Behind The Sound. Duel have mastered the in-your-face, fast paced energy. Hearing some clean, slower guitars is a fantastic change of pace and although Duel dabbled with this on their 2019 release with the song I Feel No Pain, they’ve stepped up their game. Behind The Sound has a perfect, barely breaking up, tone that rises throughout, building that energy back up to where Anchor left us.
Do your speakers go beyond 10 because you’ll want to turn them up as much as you can for Bite Back. Starting with a heavy chug, the song explodes into heavy riffage and a pummeling rhythm. Another VERY subtle psychedelic easter egg appears at just sixteen seconds in. It’s the tone created when the short solo fades out and it’s perfect. Wave Of Your Hand has a vibe similar to some early Duel, and much like Children Of The Fire, let’s listeners experience older Duel vibes among some fantastic new music. The heavy chugs break up the wall of sound created by these four incredible musicians.
Dead Eyes has one of the best guitar tones for a solo I’ve heard in a long time. And luckily enough there are a few solos spread out through the killer track. Duel seem to have a little fun at the end with two spots where you think the song is done and BAM! They’re back into it. This next track, Lizard Tongue, could easily end the album on a very heavy and action packed note. They don’t let up for the entire length of the song, it’s a very straightforward rocker that could be a good choice to introduce someone to Duel (you mean everyone doesn’t know them yet!?!).
I was admittedly upset hearing the last three songs and their lack of psychedelic easter eggs. I was hoping for more I guess, regardless they’re still kick ass songs. But on the opening notes of closer Blood On The Claw… the phaser effect, the barely distorted riff, the chimey leads faintly heard in the background… Duel were just building up for their epic conclusion. And they deliver. Transitioning between the psychedelic riffs and the hard-hitting wall of sound creates a fantastic dynamic. The song incorporates all elements laid out in the previous songs leaving the listener completely satisfied, like a perfect ending to a TV series.
It’s always tough listening to a new album by a band whose previous albums are what caused you to love them in the first place. Bands need to grow and change, but sometimes it can be disappointing. Duel however changed up their style and sound enough to make things exciting for this, and future releases, while keeping what made me a fan to begin with.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider