There are times when metal can become a tad overbearing. Polyrhythmic shredding, 90mph blasting and unintelligible grunting are all well and good, but sometimes we find our attentions drawn to the simpler ends of the spectrum, where good ol’ fashioned rawk n’ roll still holds sway. Propping up this side of the bar are Metal Blade newbies Gypsyhawk who make music “for girls to shake their ass to and dudes to bang their heads.” As mission statements go, it’s a gloriously bullshit-free one, and something they emphatically drive home on second album “Revelry & Resilience”.
Unconcerned with trends and a desire to be brutal or technical, Gypsyhawk sound like they’ve just dropped in from 1977, armed only with some glorious half-inched Thin Lizzy riffs, a big bag of weed and the rhinestone-encrusted shirts on their backs for company. Having said that, it’s evident they took a detour through the Deep South as a taste for the Southern Fried licks of NOLA gives the music a satisfying well-baked feel. Album opener ‘Overloaded’ starts the party with riffs reminiscent of forgotten UK heroes Winnebago Deal, straight-forward, uncompromising, and sure to have even the most joyless of listeners tapping their feet.
Next track ‘The Fields’ introduces some clever melodic interplay over a basic classic rock riff that sounds like Maylene & the Sons of Disaster remaining sober long enough to cover a UFO song. The punchy production becomes apparent as guitars grab you by the scruff of the neck and shake your head till it’s banging freely of its own accord. First single ‘Hedgeking’ tells epic tales that will strike a chord with anyone familiar with George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’ series of novels, with its note-perfect rock n’ roll the perfect soundtrack for galloping towards a Westeros sunset. More odes to the Seven Kingdoms follow with the Ace Frehley cum-Iron Maiden theatrics of ‘Frostwyrm’ and Priestess-worshipping ‘The Red Wedding.’
The slightly more sedate ‘Night Songs from the Desert’ merely provides the opportunity to down more whiskey rather than hold lighters aloft with vocalist Eric Harris getting the opportunity to soar over Slough Feg shaped sand dunes, a talent he displays again on the more gnarly metal-influenced ‘Silver Queen.’ When we finally arrive at album closer ‘State Lines’, Gypsyhawk are still going strong with the quality levels not having dipped one iota, as the frantic dual-guitar workout wrings every last drop from your aching neck. A rather pointless cover of ‘Rock n’ Roll, Hoochie Koo’ finishes things off enthusiastically but would have been best left on the studio floor.
Equally capable of appearing alongside metal heavyweights at a Mega-sized Euro Festival as they are sandwiched between filler on US radio rock stations, Gypsyhawk tick every box for anyone seeking to bow down before the altar of rock. Nice work Metal Blade!