I miss him...Since he passed away in 2005.. One of the voices that lead me through my youth...You put on a record and immediatly I found myself in a dusty, wide open landscape in the big south of the US.. He was called DJB, aka as Danny Joe Brown, former frontmen of Molly Hatchet. I was looking for this kind of voice, warm, powerful, agressive and a bit diabolic. Hell yeah, Tom Franks´s got a voice to seduce you to murder a person or a drink and to boogie or to boogie. Maybe there are some bands doing fancy and complicated music, and maybe they have better skills. But Duel have definetly a voice which you will recognize among others, the right heavyness for not being Heavy Metal and not being just Southern rock and heavy guitars, which are guitars. And.. A their music make the girls to swing their hips and the boys to bang their head.
"Black Magic Summer" opens with all what you will hear the following 38 minutes; a rollercoaster ride through Southern Rock history. "Red Moon Forming" is - besides Tom Petty´s "Running down a dream" - one of the best songs for the road and "Drifting Alone" comes along with slightly wink to Nuge´s "Stranglehold". "Strike and Disappear" speeds up, keeps the pace and the pedal to the metal. More a biker than a cruiser song. "Broken Mirror" reminds me on the early Hellacopters with duelling guitars and a busload of riffs. "Tyrant of the Thrones" gives you chance to take some breath. I mean, you don´t have to miss the early Priestesque guitar work and anyway, Duel surprises you with a change of speed at the end of the song. "I feel no pain" is bluesy ballad for the girls, before "The Bleeding Heart" closes the circle to the opener with a wide range of blended styles in one song.
"Valley of Shadows" is a hell of a record with maybe one filler. Like "Fast and Loose" on the Ace of Spades. Anyway, this record is catchy, rocks, has a perfectly rough production, not that much of fuzz and THE voice. So. A perfect "Ace of Spades" for them guys.