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On disc: Dukes Of The Orient

Dukes Of The Orient - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

Dukes Of The Orient

Dukes Of The Orient
(Frontiers Records - 2018)

Dukes Of The Orient is the band of John Payne and Erik Norlander and has it's origin in 2007 when Payne continued as Asia feat. John Payne while Geoff Downes brought back together the classic Asia line-up from 1982! The dynamic duo was working on this one for awhile and finally named the band Dukes Of The Orient after original vocalist John Wetton passed away.

They kick off with the heavy riff-rocker Brothers In Arms and soon it's clear that Mr Payne and his companions stick to the Asia sound, even if they are now named Dukes Of The Orient. At Strange Days they add a dash of Toto to the mix. Great guitar play. A passage which seems to come from a radio or TV coverage is surprising as much as the 80's touch add by Norlander's keyboard.

Keyboard leads you into Amor Vincit Omnia, a balladesque tune. First only piano and vocals, but then they go full force into a bombastic rocker, just to return to the opening theme. This one is a bit ELP-ish... Time Waits For No One is a pop tune which just don't get me. It's not bad, but... something is missing.

Bombastically they open up A Sorrow's Crown, another hymnic AOR tune with great vocals and keyboard, even if the later stays in the background to give the guitars more space. The track Seasons Will Change some will already know... The closer is the long track Give Another Reason. This time they mix a bit Pink Floyd and a big dash of ELP into their sound.

Fans of Asia won't hesitate to check out this album, in general I can recomment it to fans of AOR who also listen to bands like ELP, Yes and Pink Floyd.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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