On their second LP, Witchbanger, Austin, TX crew Duel manage to refine and strengthen their retro heavy rock/heavy metal sound. Out April 28 through Heavy Psych Sounds, Witchbanger is the kind of rock or metal album you’ll find yourself humming throughout your day.
You can stream the full album below, as well as read a Q&A with guitarist/vocalist Tom Frank, ahead of Witchbanger‘s official release. Get the album here.
What themes and ideas do you explore on Witchbanger?
It’s the kind of stuff we were listening to at the time, been listening to a lot of early Judas Priest and a lot of these songs reminded me of moments from like Conan the Barbarian movies and stuff. The stories behind the songs. That’s kind of the feeling we had about the recordings.
Have you played many of these new songs live yet? What’s the reaction to them been like?
A couple of the songs that have been around for right after the first album… Even our last tour, we played a couple of the songs that are on the record before they were recorded or everything. The past couple months we’ve been trying to play quite a bit of it, local shows just to get people to want to get the record.
Fears of the Dead came out last year. How would you say Duel’s sound has evolved and changed since that album was recorded?
They’re recorded so close together and we kind of, rather than being a band that evolves into different sounds over time, we kinda just want to perfect one sound. I feel like so many bands their first and second album were amazing and somewhere around the third album, the magic was gone. It’s like “What happened?” We just want to stick in that first, second album and not try to change shit. We record everything imagining it’s going on vinyl. We do shorter albums that are composed so you have two first songs, an A and a B. This next album, if it were to be a double, our first one, this would have been our second album.
You’re from Austin. Do you find that there are a lot of psychedelic or heavy rock bands active out there? Do you find yourself playing with many bands of that sound?
Yeah, definitely, there’s a huge scene for that in Texas period, but mainly in Dallas and Austin. I book these shows here that are like “22 stoner rock/metal bands,” everybody’s pretty of the same ilk somewhat. Some kind of retro, tripped out metal and there’s so many bands and they’re all great. The bar is set really high because of all the killer bands we have in town.
You recorded the album within the band, right?
Our guitar player. He recorded the first record too, except we did our first record at the Machine Shop. Since then, our guitar player’s built his own studio and he recorded the album. It’s killer, we would have had him record it anyways but it just so happened he wasn’t in the band at the time of our first album, and our guitar player couldn’t go on tour, and Jeff was like “I know all these songs, I’ll go” and by the time we got back, it was like “Ugh.”
And then our guitar player couldn’t do the next tour, and so on so it just kind of fell into place. It was a real smooth transition.