Duke - Escape From Reality


Year of Release: 2003
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:25:00

If Duke's best song is the opener, then this won't be a pretty review at all. I keep thinking of that each time I listen to the album and it gets harder to consider with each passing moment of their debut album Escape From Reality.

A simple yet effective cover greets you with the band featuring former Scanner, Angel Dust, and Crows singer Leo Szpigiel. I've never heard him sing before but he reminded me of Lance King (Balance of Power, Defyance) with a soaring, medium ranged vocal style. He only adequately suits the music due to a certain unoriginality and an annoying vocal style that extends to the oft-used group choruses - I found some of them very frustrating.

Oddly for an album, it gets better the further into the CD it gets (or was that when the caffeine kicked in?). The second oddity is that the album got better the more times I listened to it. But that doesn't mean it is any good. The two extremes of ballads and up-tempo metal tracks are the best sides of this band. When they slow things down ("Rising Child" and "Remember My Name"), the band really show themselves as being a talented *cough* unoriginal *cough* band and when they speed things up they once again show why they are a capable *cough* unoriginal *cough* band. The ballads will make many of you sick with the over-happy "yeah... yeah... yeah..." melodies but there's much feeling to be had on these songs. On the other end of the metal spectrum, the faster and heavier the track the more passion and power is displayed - the trio of "Wild Horse," "Friends," & "Black And White" are good examples. Seriously, this album is a tale of two halves - and the first half is frighteningly frightful. The second half heralds a harder, darker edge but the songs end up repetitive due to the sameness of the songs: fast, attacking numbers with little variation until the monster "Centre Of Destruction Unknown." I couldn't win either way.

On the odd occasion the band manages to mix the music up a bit with the odd time change, but it is all very commonplace, especially the tired keyboard sound (where's the creativity?). Of the 10 songs presented, there is more filler here than a recently renovated house. But thankfully the album is short.

How many times you listen to this album depends on how lenient you are when it comes to heavy metal. For me, this is simple, throwaway metal for forgiving metal fans. But Duke will sail out of sight quicker than a floating turd bound for the sewerage.

P.S. The marketing people will tell you to buy this album because it has drummer Anja Assmuth (sister to Angel Dust drummer Dirk Assmuth) and because it is mastered by Masterplan guitarist Roland Grapow. In the words of Public Enemy, "Don't Believe The Hype."

[This review originally appeared August 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Tracklisting:
The Duke / Rolling Heads / Arrant Rascal / Illusions / Rising Child / Wild Horse / Friends / Black And White / Center Of Destruction Unknown / Remember My Name

Musicians:
Leo Szpigiel - vocals
Anja Assmuth - drums
Tobias Kersting - guitar
Stefan Heeke - bass

Discography:
Escape From Reality (2003)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: December 11th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Score:
Artist website: www.duke-metal.com
Hits: 711
Language: english

  

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