This album from Mad Duck confidently and stylishly smashes into action with the creatively complex and detailed rock journey that is Renegade. The song showcases a five minute audio experience and introduces the classic rock weight and story telling of the band in a strong way. The music has a slightly vintage or original hard rock essence, not heavy but dramatic, loaded with melodies and poetry, and yet despite the Iron Maiden-esque sentiment the finish on this record is crisp and clean and supremely well presented, offering audiences something notably fresh to embrace.
Tyger follows on and keeps the sound and style burning brightly. There’s a touch of the medieval to this piece, and all the while the band’s front man continues to set in stone the power and character and grit of his voice. Surrounding each of the songs on this project is an instrumental experience of epic proportions. The tracks have been thoughtfully crafted and every detail contributes to the overall emotional effect of the music.
Eldorado brings about a smooth and rhythmic rock anthem that makes you want to move around, get involved, witness a live show. The story once again draws your focus, gets you pondering the origins of it all, reminds you of Mad Duck’s uninhibited creative reach. There’s a distinct level of joyfulness to this when compared to the following track City Of Darkness. The title and opening energy of the riffs, the early reference to the fire in the night, all work well to conjure up an intense yet vibrant piece of musical theatre. The central chorus or hook of this one is definitely one of the more memorable and really stays with you after listening.
At The Sign Of The Skull takes on something of an iconic role, the soundscape slowly emerges and surrounds you, beginning with a distant guitar riff – mellow yet intense in that you can sense the oncoming, manic energy, which is exactly what comes in afterwards. The melody here is fairly unpredictable, dropping to a lower set of notes for the hook, reminding you again of that creative freedom the band so strikingly present. It’s also important to point out that throughout this record, not only is the leading vocalist impressively able and captivating, but every musical performance showcased offers up compelling levels of skill and and an overall tightly connected unit that is the band.
Down Among The Dead Men has perhaps the most immediately gripping guitar riff, one that is soon followed by a thick and striking drum beat, and another almighty vocal delivery of this unique and unusual story. This is actually another distinctly memorable song once you’ve heard it just a single time. The Lightening Thief then follows and completely changes the mood for a moment, initially offering up a piano-led break in the high energy collection, a ballad of sorts – emotional and delicate, laying bare the leading artist’s voice in an intimate way. The song soon evolves into a Queen-like adventure through audio and ideas, stunning guitars cascade around you and the whole thing builds and progresses brilliantly.
They Call Me Trinity brings an acoustic touch of that medieval aura to the stage for just a few seconds. The song that develops from here has a slightly anthemic, indie feel to it – the lyrics suddenly seem much more personal, and you notice this. Arrangement is important and the songs on this project unfold in an interesting order that keeps you intrigued throughout, right through to the finishing, chaotic moment that is Never Die. The vibrancy and energy of this track is everything but exhausted, it exemplifies life, living, speed, enthusiasm, and rock and roll. It’s the perfect way to end the collection. Well worth a listen, a hell of a lot of thought and skill has gone into this album.