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Dukes of the Orient: "When Ravens Cry"

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    Dukes of the Orient: "When Ravens Cry"

    This is from the Dukes of the Orient's second album, Freakshow:



    It's one of those towards the end of the album songs that didn't jump out at me immediately when the album came out, but that seems like one of the album's better songs now. It's a bit different from a typical Asia song, but the Dukes aren't Asia (Though they are closely connected with them), so I guess that's alright. They also have some songs that could easily have made it on to a John Payne-era Asia album, so that legacy is being continued somewhat as well with this group.

    Anyone else enjoy this song?
    "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

    #2
    Love it......Is he still working with Chris Slade or Guthrie Govan at all (I always thought that GPS lineup had great potential).....although since GPS, for my money Erik Norlander is an Ace In The Hole for him......fantastic Keyboardist, and the only Player who lights a candle to Mr. Downes. Here's my go-to Asia/Payne track, "Neurosaur" (featuring Erik, as well as some guy called JAY SCHELLEN on drums !)





    here's the Studio version :




    Last edited by carlmarx38; 01-28-2022, 03:58 PM.

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      #3
      Dukes Of The Orient is pretty much Payne and Rocket Scientists/solo keyboardist Erik Norlander, who has some great Wakeman/Emerson prog chops. Dukes are highly recommended to anyone who likes Asia's Payne years or GPS. The first album originally supposed to come out as an Asia Featuring John Payne album and features a number of guests, including Guthrie Govan. Very Asia.

      The second album Freakshow came out in the pandemic summer of 2020 with a more structured line-up with Payne and Norlander remaining the core duo. Yes, I do like When Ravens Cry, and might even prefer this second album - Freakshow still retains some Asia elements but kinda jets off into other corners as well. There is the inclusion of a saxophone player in the line-up. He doesn't dominate, but does come in to enhance the songs and solos here and there, often going into maybe a Supertramp/Alan Parsons Project thing for a bit. The Dukes Return opening track reminds me of Genesis. Elsewhere, tracks like The Monitors continue the Asia atmosphere. Dukes, with this second album, seem to be moving slightly towards their own individual sound while still retaining the Asia sonic connection.

      I hope there is more Dukes of the Orient. If Asia themselves are creatively inactive, I'll take some more Dukes. Good melodic rock music, whether you match it up to Asia or whatever or want it to be this that or the other, it's good melodic rock music with guitars and proggy synths and stuff. They're on Frontiers Records.

      Neurosaur! Wouldn't Geoff and the others over at Asia themselves benefit from a track like that? Norlander has an Emerson thing going for him, with a Jordan Rudess thng as well, being in heavier outfits. Great player. Need to investigate more from him.

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        #4
        Originally posted by downbyariver View Post
        This is from the Dukes of the Orient's second album, Freakshow:



        It's one of those towards the end of the album songs that didn't jump out at me immediately when the album came out, but that seems like one of the album's better songs now. It's a bit different from a typical Asia song, but the Dukes aren't Asia (Though they are closely connected with them), so I guess that's alright. They also have some songs that could easily have made it on to a John Payne-era Asia album, so that legacy is being continued somewhat as well with this group.

        Anyone else enjoy this song?
        I thought I'd give it another go, after your previous endorsments and this one, even though so far any Duke of the Orient has failed to grab me. I have to say I like this song musically/instrumentally, but I actually actively dislike Payne's leadvocals on this song. To me there are several problems with it. In general I think his voice is very generic, a thirteen in a dozen rock voice. But in this particular case the way he uses it, that sort of growling singing, that constant emphasising with the 'growl' ruins the actual song for me. This song could have been very good with a different vocalist with a different approach to the singing on this song. Sorry! I've tried.

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          #5
          That's ok, Payne's vocals can't be for everyone. I wasn't sure at first about him either, but John Payne grew on me. When I first heard Aqua in 1992, I thought he was too hair metal. And he does have that tendency to start off a line with a raspy growl, that cracked voice type of emotional singing. But I eventually warmed up to him and like his musical package - rock elements and songwriting with the harder edge vocals with harmonies, the soulful vocal thing, hard rock guitars. Yeah, his voice does/can fall into the hard rock wailer mode which can be thought of as 'generic', but does pretty good with what he's got, and seems earnest with it. Thing is, John Wetton's was a one-off with a unique voice that wasn't thirteen a dozen, you can't replicate that. Aren't too many Wetton clone singers. Plenty of Payne-style rock singers.

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            #6
            Lana Lane and her husband Erik have a couple of new singles out, for an upcoming Frontiers album.

            https://youtu.be/Y-Zt7ToWmT0

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