'Revelry And Resilience'
(Metal Blade Records)
Apparently Gypsyhawk are for fans of Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and Baroness but having just listened to this album I would widen that net to say this album is for all lovers of guitar orientated music. Yes there is more than a nod toward the guitars of Thin Lizzy with occasional reminders of Phil Lynott's vocalisation and yes, the grind in some parts of some songs remind the listener of Motorhead, Maiden and Baroness.
The music here is still unique and everyone deserves to be encouraged to give this album a listen. Whether it is death Metal, thrash, good old fashioned rock, true Metal or blues – if you love guitars then there is a bet to be made here that you will like this too (you just may not want to tell your mates if you are precious about music genres you associate with).
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However - this is one of the best albums released this year and I care not who knows this.
This is Gypsyhawk's second studio album and it is even bigger, better and more fantastic than 2010s 'Patience And Perseverance'. Clearly the addition of guitarist Erik Kluiber and drummer Ian Brown alongside founding members Eric Harris and Andrew Packer has enabled Gypsyhawk's music to clearly evolve in a good Metal tradition way.
First song up is Overloaded which jumps straight into guitars with a strong integrated bass line – the pace is unrelenting even when it moves on to the melody within the lyrics. The guitars are truly sublime and the band delivers this as a clear unit. This ends with a 'yeah' from Harris although I nearly said it first.
'The Fields' kicks straight off with a more rhythmic definition to this song and yes – there are guitar references to both Thin Lizzy and Maiden here, good proper listenable Metal. And yes – there is also a moment where Harris does sound like Phil Lynott could be providing vocals.
'Hedgeking' is one of my favourites – the guitars are again directing the energy here with a funk note underlying the begining of the song and the riffs and twin guitars are wonderful.
'Frostwyrm' takes us straight into vocals and guitar with the drum focus in the middle end part of the song demonstrating diverity in their arrangement skills. This is a definite shift in focus and pace and this is divine although my heart and soul are still with the guitars.
'Galaxy Rise' - this is angrier and determined in pace and tone with a visit to the melodic middle of the song before moving on to more riffing guitars and drums. '1345' - this is the melodic song offering on the album (for about 1½ minutes). It has a totally different feel, tone and pace to it before coming back to the Gypsyhawk trademark speed and pace of guitars. It's good.
'Night Songs From The Desert' is a wee bit special in that it starts with a melodic guitar into and slowly moves up a pace to a steady paced rhythm the vocals are a bit more downbeat than the other songs so far. Mid song there is a change of pacing and the speed creeps in again with a bit more melody with new higher reaching vocals and a little bit of a grinding bass. All my favourite things on one song!
'The Red Wedding', and we launch straight into this with the ringing of the bell in the manner of a boxing bout. Oh dear, this doesn't bode well for what could have been anticipated as a romantic subject matter. "Keep your heart open and you will be made to suffer" suggest the lyrics. But that aside the song is a goodie thanks to those fantastic guitars and the band truly operating as one unit – not a pace or note missed and you can feel the combined energy on this and across all the songs on the album.
'Silver Queen' - guitars again and a bit of a gentle start, just as you are being lulled into thinking – oh this is a slow song then – off they go again with more Formula One warp speed and top it all off with melodic guitar and a definite end just before you reach for the medication. Relistening to this I realise this is a sing along-able song and should be fun!
'State Lines' has a steady bass line so defined you could lean on it and yes, guitars feature again very quickly, back to the bass line, back to the guitar, back to the getting faster bass line and back to the even faster guitar!! This has some wonderful Metal moments on it and the headbangers amongst us will love it. It all comes to a crashing end with a sweet guitar goodbye.
'Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo' - well, a totally different pace on a totally different style of song to finish the album with this cover version of Rick Derringer's 1070s classic. They do it justice and can hold their heads up high.
This album is a definite for the Metal lovers and yes - also all guitar orientated music lovers out there. It is unique while delivering music that is familiar in style. It is delectable, listenable, moreish (like wine and chocolate combined) and plainly just damn fine.
Every song showcases the guitars and they do so with the total knowledge that the whole band is right there in solid support so they can do so. This might be because their vocalist is also the bassist and there is less room for division of function within the band and it also highlights the talent within this band.
Gypsyhawk are: Eric Harris: Bass, vocals; Andrew Packer: Guitars; Ian Brown: Drums; Erik Kluiber: Guitars.
It is now time for us to stop saying who else they sound like. They are Gypsyhawk, they sound like themselves, they are damn fine and they should be listened to by everyone!