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Dukes of the Orient - Dukes of the Orient

Dukes of the Orient
Dukes of the Orient
by Martin "Doomed" Debois at 08 April 2018, 10:16 AM

Consisting of two core members John Payne (ASIA featuring John Payne,  GPS) and Erik Norlander, mastermind Keyboardist (ROCKET SCIENTISTS, LANA LANE, ASIA featuring Jon Payne, DUKES OF THE ORIENT has been ten years in the making, whether or not due to the band's name problems, an  album that was going to be released as: ASIA - "Americana." Released in 2009 , "Architects Of Time" EP , was supposed to be the first step for a future entire album release in 2010, which was only available until 2018. I must admit that I wasn't sure about the cover art at first , but after a listening, it fits very nicely.

The album start with "Bothers in Arms," a solid rock song  that reminds a lot of ASA. We can feel the direction this one will lead us…strong chorus , nice phrasing, this one gets me ready for more. "Strange Days tries a softer approach first. Payne's vocals are still great after these years. Mr Norlander offers us a tremendous keyboard solo and with the help Govan's guitars fills up this song with intensity and creativity. A wonderfully rendered piano intro and strings introduces "Amor Vincit Omnia." It's majestic, grandiose and an inspired composition.

"Time Waits For No One" raises the tempo, the guitar and keyboards really teams up very effectively on this track. "A Sorrow’s Crown" kicks in very drastically with church organ and choir in this historically themed song. "Fourth of July" features a keyboard theme mostly used in many variations during the entire song, that was a little annoying for me, but the song is still a very interesting American rock track. "Seasons Will Change" follows; kind of a twin track to "Brothers in Arms." Most of you that already  knows of this project had a listen a few years ago and this song is a good preview of the album.

"Give Another Reason," a ten minutes long closer  opens with some acoustic guitar which builds, through a PINK FLOYD like solo, into a Prog epic using the talents of Payne, Norlander and their special guests. It’s a superb closer to a good album. DUKES OF THE ORIENT will be interesting to Payne-era fans, to American rock fans, some British Prog lovers and 80's oriented rockers. Though definitively an excellent album, perhaps the 10+ years in for releasing it leaves a bit negative effect on it. The production is very impressive as well, and they are talented musicians. I wish them the best for their future.

Songwriting: 8
Originality : 7
Memorability : 7
Production : 9

4 Star Rating

1. Brother In Arms
2. Strange Days
3. Amor Vincit Omnia
4. Time Waits For No One
5. A Sorrow’s Crown
6. Fourth Of July
7. Seasons Will Change
8. Give Another Reason
John Payne – Vocals, Bass & Guitar
Erik Norlander – Keyboards
Guthrie Govan – Guitar
Jeff Kollman – Guitar
Moni Scaria – Guitar
Bruce Bouillet – Guitar
Jay Schellen – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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