Gypsyhawk: Revelry & Resilience

Though new to us it is pretty clear going by their new album Revelry & Resilience, US rockers Gypsyhawk, is a band who just want to make the best rock n roll possible. They are not concerned with leaving one struggling for breath under a weight on extreme metal intensity or confronting  the senses with a technical assault to leave them bewildered and disorientated. This quartet from Pasadena just want to party with your ears, body and hearts for a great time for all. The band find their inspiration in the rock sounds of the seventies  when things were more uncomplicated and straight forward. Their music revisits and distils all the best flavours into their own inventive brew of rock music. Arguably it is not maybe the most original sound ever but it certainly makes for an eager and infectious friend once having made its company.

The band began in 2008 when bassist and vocalist Eric Harris (ex-Skeletonwitch, Sorcerer) linked up with guitarist Andrew Packer (Suns Beneath). With a full line-up the band gigged hard sharing their rock n roll sounds, music which was distinct from what their previous bands had made. 2010 not only saw the release of their decent debut Patience And Perseverance, but also later a change of members when guitarist Erik Kluiber (ex-White Wizzard and currently Overloaded) and drummer Ian Brown joined. This was too arguably the moment the band truly discovered their sound and became what Harris and Packer had envisaged.

Released via Metal Blade Records, Revelry & Resilience is a nonstop storm of great rock music from first note to last. As mentioned the album is borne of times when arguably rock was at its most honest and vibrant and it makes no pretence of its seeds. You can hear many flavours within the release which reflect obvious influences of the band but you always drift back to one, Thin Lizzy. There are moments their love of the band soaks their music but it proves not to be a bad thing just a powerful spice which adds a recognisable taste to the release.

Overloaded opens the gate to the energy and fun of the album, a track which instantly pulls one into a mesh of feisty riffs and punchy rhythms. For all the great things on the track including the striking and enthused guitar work around the gravelly absorbing vocals, it is the bass of Harris which captures the imagination most. He brings a growling discontented sound which adds a depth and thrilling presence to the otherwise user friendly sounds. It offers a balance and edge to it all exposing the metal traits of their sound.

The strong start is immediately improved upon by the contagious strides of The Fields. The song unleashes a teasing hook from the start to infect the senses before its mischievous groove runs amok. It is an unstoppable infection which bundles clean riffs and incisive melodies through the ear at every turn for unbridled satisfaction and pleasure. The track like the album as a whole is not threatening to break down existing rock boundaries but simply wants to improve upon and energise the existing ‘rules’.

Tracks like the powerful Hedgeking with its flaming guitar invention, the bruising Galaxy Rise, and the sharply grooved 1345, all give a varied and compulsive high octane feast to soak up eagerly. The second of the three lashes out with some thrash muscle whilst the last ignites against the ear with sparks of melodic intensity amidst blistering sonic showers.

     Night Songs From The Desert is the one time on the album things are slowed and it is glorious, a track with a metal beauty and passion which shines through its reserved moments and energised crescendos. Again the bass and drums thrill with their grumbling and combative strengths respectively whilst vocally Harris lights the air with a fine and emotive delivery.

      Revelry & Resilience is an outstanding album with songs which excite and please thoroughly. They have a familiarity to them like old friends but with the resourceful thought and fresh energies Gypsyhawk infuses them with, makes for something all rock fans should get a big buzz from.

RingMaster 23/08/2012

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Monument: Rock The Night EP

Heavy metal especially the old school classic kind and The RR has never really seen eye to eye, the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Saxon igniting more discontent than pleasure. It is personal taste of course and as open to all as we are it is makes it rare for the genre to offer something up for us to find appetizing. One of those rarities comes in the shape of the Rock The Night EP from British classic heavy metal rockers Monument, a little treat which without any chance of making our end of year best of lists left more than a pleasing impression and satisfaction behind it.

Formed by vocalist Peter Ellis (ex- White Wizzard, The More I See), the London based quintet do not hide their influences and inspirations, combining all into a riotous and compulsive sound of their own. Their new release does not break into new avenues or rip up the rule book but simply brings the feistiest heavy metal party you can wish for right to your door. Completed by guitarists Lewis Stephens and David del Cid, bassist Jim Ramses, and Matt C on drums, the band seem intent on giving a new life and freshness to the near corpse like state of NWOBHM, something which would normally give nothing but chills this way but Rock The Night EP actually manages to make it almost seem an appealing prospect.

The title track erupts in the ear with an immediate intent to excite and fire up the senses, soaring screams and raging riffs instantly taking over the ear. The song is an insatiable charge of energy and metal passion which leaves no pore or synapse devoid of melodic enterprise and charging intensity. The guitars reign on the track leaving one glowing from their fiery display of forceful riffs and enticing invention whilst the solos leave one drooling, which maybe is not surprising as the song features a guest spot from Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. The vocals are as expected from Ellis, expansive and highly charged with strong group harmonies adding their enthusiast companionship. Arguably the song offers nothing new except fully energising sounds which have not been this enthusiastic in the genre in a long time, then again not being fans we may have missed plenty of similar moments?

Whereas the opener leaves only hi octane energy and enthusiasm in its wake the following Carry On is a more expected composition. It is hard to call it predictable as again the guitars and vocals are nothing less than impressive whilst the rhythms of Matt C take instant charge of the ear with their powerful and commanding tight grip, but it fails to excite quite as openly. With surging riffs and plenty of chugging ready to link the scorching melodic play, the song is enjoyable without stoking too many fires something which cannot be said about Midnight Queen.

Best song on the EP, the track is addictive from first note to last, the Ozzie like vocals playing well amongst the brew of sinister melodic enterprise and menacing sprawling energy. From the vocal and additional harmonies through to the expressive guitar work the song captivates but it is the bass of Ramses which steals the thunder. Steely with the hunger of a predator it brings a dark shadow and breath all of its own, surely a pact with the devil at play which spoils over in the following Fatal Attack. There is a plethora of good things on the release but his presence is the highlight.

As said the bass continues to ignite greater heights on Fatal Attack, it is as if Ramses has been unleashed and he is making every moment count but the song as a whole is nothing less than thoroughly pleasing. It has a snarl and bite which is distinct from the other songs on the release to make it alongside its predecessor and the title track. One of the strongest moments on Rock The Night.

The closing Blood Red Sky continues the strong and gratifying pleasure surprisingly incited from the release and though it slips a little against the previous duo of songs still holds the imagination and ear with ease.

     Monument with the Rock The Night EP laid waste to expectations to replace them with surprised pleasure. If this is the new state of heavy metal maybe there is a home here for it after all.

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RingMaster 16/08/2012

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