Duel continue an impressive streak of heavy releases with Valley Of Shadows. The band expands upon their retro-tinged heavy metal and up the production with this latest release. Some of the rough edges have been smoothed out when compared to earlier releases such as the excellent Witchbanger. Production quality aside, this is still a heavy album with plenty of dirt under it’s nails. Strike and Disappear may start off with a lighter tone but quickly launches you on a wild metal ride.
I am of the opinion that we are living in a great time for heavy music. Heavy metal’s genesis can be traced back to the late 60’s thanks to the almighty Sabbath, as well as bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and many others. That sound was deepened and expanded over the course of the 70’s which witnessed the release of many landmark proto-metal albums. Fast forward to the current generation of metal bands, many of which grew up with parents that listened to these landmark albums from the fledgling days of metal. Many in that current generation took a left turn during adolescence through the punk scene with bands like Black Flag and Bad Brains before finding a permanent home in their parent’s record collection. The music they create now has that 70’s feel and structure with the edge and intensity of 80’s punk.
Rough Spells fit the above description almost too well with their brand of riff heavy, retro-tinged rock. Modern Kicks For The Solitary Witch kicks off with a riff that sounds like you mistakenly played Burracuda by Heart only for it to hit you in the face with a galloping beat that could have easily been buried on Hell Bent For Leather. The EP continues with a fun mix of 70’s metal with all of its points sharpened for modern consumption reaching its summit with the soaring Confessions Of The Dominant Class. I am excited to see more from this band as I think they are just getting started.