That’s right folks, we’ve got a double treat for you to open up the day. Duel join the already illustrious ranks of stoner/psychedelic rock releasing this year with Valley of Shadows. It’s an album which benefits heavily from an un-resistible air of nostalgia but also plenty of unique atmosphere, making sure to keep things distinct and attentive at all times. As such, it seemed to me that diving into the band’s influences might be a fruitful exercise to accompany this album’s premiere, which we are proud to be hosting here today!
A lot of the picks definitely make sense; you can hear the NOWBHM influences of the below-cited Angel Witch (an underrated band if there ever was one, by the way) and the more classic, progressive rock influences of Pink Floyd. But I also like how the sum is greater than its parts, as every riff on Valley of Shadows feeling very much like a Duel riff rather than a copy of anything else. This might have something to do with tone and the unique vocals but can probably also be jotted down to the band’s dynamics with each other, which makes every part shine with its personality and punch.
Whichever the case, Valley of Shadows is one fun album, containing all the fuzziness, trippy vibes, and groove that your heart might desire. Stream it right here and then head on down below to read about the influences which made it happen!
Tom Frank (vocals/guitars)
These are the albums I was listening to a lot during the writing and recording of Valley of Shadows; at the time I was listening to a lot of stuff to try and find inspiration. One album I have been spinning a lot the last few years is the British 80’s heavy metal band Angel Witch’s self titled debut. I love the way this album is put together. Every song has its own distinct sound, the writing is complex and thoughtful. Angel Witch is one of those bands that conjure dark imagery and a vibe of dungeon metal while still keeping things up tempo and swinging. A lot of cool things going on rhythmically as well.
Another album I had been appreciating at the time is the Pink Floyd classic, Animals. To me, this record is an absolute masterpiece. From production to writing and overall vibe this record has continued to give me goosebumps for the last few decades. It embodies a greatness in music that makes me want to improve and grow as a musician.
Jeff Henson (guitar)
To me, each of the Duel albums have had a unique sound and vibe, and Valley of Shadows was no different. For this album I was inspired heavily by Queen and Pink Floyd when thinking of the overall vibe I wanted. Most notably A Night at the Opera and Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. I wanted the organic vibe each had and I love how Queen would let the vocals just take over a chorus and wash out nearly everything else. And with Pink Floyd how they would tell a story within a story, separated by moments of pop genius.
For my guitar playing on this album however I would have to admit to pulling mentally from Thin Lizzy’s Bad Reputation and Judas Priest’s Rocka Rolla. I’ve been in love with the harmonies and phrasing each of those guys do and the taste with which they do it. When it got down to mixing, most of the vibe was already there and I wasn’t listening to anything. At that point, I just wanted to make it sound like Duel.
Justin Collins (drums)
I have a set of standards that I always listen too on a daily that gives me ideas. Artimus Pyle for strikes, Keith Moon for the fills to start off and a list of other drummers way too long to go into. As we were tracking the album, I listened a lot to what JD, the former Duel drummer, did. He helped create the sound of the band so I made sure he was there in beat. It was important to me that DUEL sounds like DUEL just a different guy driving the back engine.