Gypsyhawk - Revelry And Resilience

For the most part, when it comes to music, us metalheads can be a dour, depressing and serious lot. Generally we prefer to listen to compositions that focus on death, destruction and a good measure of anarchy. A good science-fiction concept story may also feature if we’re lucky. So sometimes, it is nice to throw off the shackles of this gloomy malaise and listen to something a bit more fun. If that’s the case, and a bit of fluffy AOR is a bridge too far, I offer you Gypsyhawk.
Gypsyhawk are a quartet hailing from Pasadena, California and from the modus operandi of their sophomore full-length “Revelry And Resilience”, these guys, including Skeletonwitch’s Eric Harris on bass and vocals, want to play carefree heavy rock ‘n’ roll and have a party. It’s an ethos that seems to have struck a chord and even the usually brutal and heavy Metal Blade Records have succumbed by signing the band to their roster.
For the entirety of “Revelry And Resilience”, you are bombarded with music that immediately transports you back in time thirty or forty years, offering you simple, yet effective pleasures at every turn. The main focus for Gypsyhawk is creating a fun atmosphere and they manage this feat by blending plenty of mid-tempo riffs with lashings of groove, hooks and plenty of catchy choruses. As a result, the most obvious reference points that emerge are bands like UFO and Thin Lizzy. That said, Gypsyhawk are in no way a tribute band or a clone of their 70s predecessors. Yes, they may offer a closing cover of “Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo” by (and I had to look this up on the ‘Net) Johnny Winter, but otherwise, they are their own men with their own ideas.
“Overloaded” is a powerful riff-tastic opener and sets the tone for the album very nicely. One of my personal favourites follows in the form of the ├╝ber-groovy “The Fields”. Other standout tracks for me include “Hedgeking” with its brief but cool mid-song instrumental and ensuing solo as well as the slower, more introspective “Night Songs From The Desert”. For some bizarre reason, the intro reminds me of Pantera but I’m confident that I’ll be in a massive minority there.
Moving swiftly on to a credibility-saving conclusion, it is fair to say that “Revelry And Resilience” will not blind you with science or break new ground. However, what it does instead is offer nearly 50 minutes of uplifting rock music that I guarantee will leave you in a better mood than when you first pressed play. Sometimes, that’s enough and you can’t ask any more than that.

Matt Spall

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