Dukes Of The Orient - Freakshow

Dukes Of The Orient – Freakshow


I’ll admit I was quite fond of the debut Dukes Of The Orient album two years ago. Here’s the second ‘Freakshow’ which is not so good.

Written by: gdmonline

ARTIST: Dukes Of The Orient
ALBUM: Freakshow
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2020
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: John Payne – vocals, bass, production * Eric Norlander – keyboards, programming

Additional Musicians: Alex Garcia – guitars * Eric Tewalt – sax

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Dukes Return * 02 The Ice Is Thin * 03 Freakshow * 04 The Monitors * 05 Man Of Machine * 06 The Last Time Traveller * 07 A Quest For Knowledge * 08 The Great Brass Steam Engine * 09 When Ravens Cry * 10 Until Then

RATING: 70/100



I’ll admit I was quite fond of the debut Dukes Of The Orient album two years ago. It fused the modern prog abilities of John Payne and Eric Norlander, both reputable names in the prog rock industry and the pair are a good fit on paper. However, there’s a few things on this second effort ‘Freakshow’ that bug me more than most.

The Songs

Here they are:

  • The songs are a moving target meaning the album never has a chance to settle.
  • Payne’s vocal is mostly coarse throughout.
  • The overuse of sax nearly turned the album into a Supertramp tribute!

A few nods in the direction of The Beatles helps to break things up but by the end of it all the Dukes Of The Orient have traversed the prog spectrum and you’d be none the wiser!

Best track is ‘The Monitors’ with ‘The Last Time Traveller’ a close second with solos after the 4 minute mark a stand out. I also enjoyed Norlander’s synth workout ‘The Great Brass Steam Engine’ plus the opening ‘Dukes Return’. The remainder I can take or leave it.

In Summary

For mine? Not as good as the debut.


The Monitors

Dukes Of The Orient - "The Monitors" - Official Music Video

Entire Album (Select Tracks)
Playlist: Dukes of the Orient - Freakshow (2020)
Watch this playlist on YouTube

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