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Product Format: CD               ** Regular Stock Item **

Price: Normally £13.99 Currently £9.99 (exc) £11.99 (inc)


Outstanding Erik Norlander & John Payne project featuring music bridging the rich tradition of melodic AOR legends ASIA & TOTO with Prog's ELP & YES!

Having roots in ASIA, DUKES OF THE ORIENT brings together John Payne (vocals / bass / guitars) with his former ASIA keyboard player Eric Norlander. They are helped along by additional former Payne associates including guitarists Jeff Kollman, Guthrie Govan & Moni Scaria, Bruce Bouillet and drummer Jay Schellen. The songs for the new album have been in process for some time, and intended for a new ASIA featuring John Payne album. But Payne and Norlander ditched that idea after the death of original ASIA vocalist John Wetton, choosing to separate their music from ASIA.

If you think that DUKES OF THE ORIENT sound like an ASIA-type band, you're not far from the truth. Large hints of ASIA are here, but also ELP, YES and parts of TOTO.
DUKES OF THE ORIENT is simply melodic Neo-Progressive rock in an AOR wrapper - or said another way, the songs are very catchy, pop-like, AOR rock songs with some technicality, and a large portion of Norlander keyboard wizardry.

When you listen to the album you get the sense that, Payne and Norlander wanted more to entertain with accessible and digestible songs, rather than "wow" you with their technical skills. Yet that impressive expertise comes along side the tasty songs like a fine wine pairing. Rich melody, harmony, and groove abound, and are easily embellished by fine vocal arrangement and catchy refrains. Payne is in fine form; sounding strong, smooth, and melodic in his vocals. Norlander delivers his usual lush synth accents and embellishment, then intrigues you with his spry solos. And it's not all keyboards; the guest guitarists drop in some fine solos (often paired with Norlander).

Putting these things together, and as alluded to earlier, the songs are masterful and intriguing, yet instantly accessible and enjoyable. ‘Amore Vincit Omnia’, ‘Fourth Of July’, and especially the uber catchy ‘Strange Days’ and ‘Seasons Of Change’ are some the best examples. Even the longer: ‘Give Another Reason’, which is more Progish and technical than the other songs, turns on another fine catchy refrain.

Essentially, DUKES OF THE ORIENT are modern heirs to the rich tradition of the melodic Neo-Progressive rock established by bands like ASIA, and this new album is outstanding.

‘Dukes Of The Orient’ is released on 23rd February 2018.


01. Brother In Arms
02. Strange Days
03. Amor Vincit Omnia
04. Time Waits For No One
05. A Sorrow's Crown
06. Fourth Of July
07. Seasons Will Change
08. Give Another Reason