Guess what happens when you let four long-haired degenerates, who spent their childhood in the middle of the secluded woods of Bennekom, the Netherlands, locked up in in a dirty smoke-filled blood-smeared trailer in their mid-twenties and given a bunch of instruments, conveniently placed in the middle of nowhere?
Chances are you have not yet heard of Dr. Duval, so it’s very good that your eyes lingered on this little feature about an underrated band in the Dutch garage rock scene. Dr. Duval consists of aka Bob M. on vocals, Thijs O. on guitar, Michiel M. on bass and Mink K. on drums.
Taking their name from their favorite pack of rolling papers, Dr. Duval became an all too real nightmare. Since 2013, Dr. Duval has released three singles, two of which were self-released, filled with a particular style of wild bone-crushing garage rock, mixing repetitive riffs, a dragging bass, battering drums with a whiff of black metal, and the reverb-drowned howlin’ cries of a madman.
Their garage punk meets black metal sound is a surprising and refreshing one, but not completely out of the blue. Both Duval’s vocalist and drummer have been involved in the Dutch black metal scene for quite some years, also playing in Fluisteraars, an atmospheric black metal band that describes itself as ‘music from Gelderland.’
Their vocalist designs the band’s artwork, and every slipcover is hand folded and numbered. All of the tracks are recorded straight onto an old tape machine, to be mixed by a close friend. Honestly, what’s not to like about this band and their DIY aesthetics?
Their debut single the Sun was self-released in 2013 and home recorded in the aforementioned blood-smeared trailer. It showcases Dr. Duval’s raw gritty-sound. The twangy guitar, reverb-soaked vocals, dragging bass and battering drums shape up to roughly five and a half minutes of explosive garage punk.
It’s probably the reason why the guys over at Kliko Records decided add the song ‘Def’ to their compilation Dutch Garage Rock Explosion alongside greats like the Anomalys, E.T. Explore Me, Dead Elvis and Traumahelikopter. Oh yeah, and make sure to check out their 2011 demo songs, ‘Eiffeltoe’ and ‘Baphomet’s Rite.’
The opening track of their second single Dr. Duval, self-released, 2014, almost describes a manic-depressive state of mind, alternating between contagiously high energy and slurring dysphoria, providing a perfect example of those black metal drums during the finale. ‘Rubber Nights,’ jokingly dubbed during liveshows as Rob de Nijs, sucks you into a more manic state, only to explode in the instrumental ‘GMT+1,’ giving their vocalist a moment to grab some beers for the rest. Leaving the slower jam ‘This Horse’ as a final song to clean up the mess and assure your neighbors that you’re really gonna turn down the volume this time.
And last, but surely not least, Dr. Duval’s latest single Bennekom, Waaghals Records, 2015, which obviously and bluntly displaying homage to their hometown, is in my opinion their finest deliverance ‘till now. Invited by Converse Rubber Tracks to have a day of free recording at the Amsterdam Recording Studio (ARC), they delivered four songs that evoke frustration and a need for a wild night.
Characterized by the off key raw vocals, confused murmurs, a continuously driving bass, screaming guitar riffs and the non-stop battering of drumrolls, have made this single into one of my favourites till this day.
Personally, I think ‘Shave Our Souls’ is Duval’s opus magnum, and should be played way more often in every bar that claims to play rock ‘n roll music. The sheer frustration in the vocals and the suspense in the riffs, combined with the confused rambling of a madman explode into a final outburst of vigorous energy that will urge you to push over the guy next to you when they play it in the flesh. Plus the single comes with a neat postcard!
Who knows, with one single each year, hopefully we get to see some more in the last month of 2016. Make sure to check out the videoclip for ‘Lost In Your Diamond’ to get an accurate peek into the woods of Bennekom and the weird apparition that is Dr. Duval.
If you haven’t seen ‘em live, look ‘em up, get a ticket, get off your couch, go out there and do it man! Every single Duval show I’ve witnessed, and trust me, I’ve seen more than one person can handle, ends in a shirtless and sweaty mayhem combined with way too much alcohol, a lot of fuzzy long hair, occasional wild stage antics, infrequent displays of the flag of their home state, Gelderland, broken strings, busted pedals, demolished micstands, bad jokes (sometimes very personal), a stage decorated with skulls and candles, and most of all – the all too real chance to accidentally get whacked in the head or chest with a branch straight of Bennekom’s finest tree.
A big part of Dr. Duval’s charismatic stage presence is due to their ‘specially developed’ microphone stand, which Duval’s singer wields like an axe. Only to at times forget that people get close to the stage during the show, unintentionally leaving spectators with bruises, black eyes or busted teeth.
They have shared the stage with the Dwarves and have thrashed the stage at Amsterdam’s beloved Pacific Parc more than once! If Dr. Duval plays a show in your area, check ‘em out!