A solid sequel to Critical Hits, and a regular in my music rotation. If you're a fan of the old school sound (whatever name you want to put on it) then you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't give this album a spin.
Favorite track: Heavy Meddle.
The solo work and songwriting has only improved for Gygax on this second release. The way the 2 guitars work together is masterful. I never get tired of this music. Also, the nerdery theme is much appreciated. Roll some dice!
Southern California’s GYGAX – the lineup comprised of former and current members of Gypsyhawk, Skeletonwitch, Sorcerer, Huntress, Warbringer, Mantic Ritual, Pentagram, and more – has announced their highly anticipated sophomore LP release, Second Edition, due out March 16th via Creator-Destructor Records. The album will be unleashed while the band is storming the West Coast on tour in support of its release.
Following up where the band’s 2016-released Critical Hits debut left off, the eight tracks that comprise Second Edition showcase GYGAX’s unrivaled and potent tendency to create absolutely anthemic rock n’ roll hits, chock-full of hip’ shakin’ grooves and twin guitar explosions that would make Thin Lizzy shed a tear of pride. Second Edition was recorded in November of 2017 with Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios in Pittsburgh, California, and features the always incredible artwork of Rachel Deering.
GYGAX bassist/vocalist Eric Harris explains, “It is with happy hearts that we bring you our second collection of songs for your eager ears. Recording at Nu-Tone Studios was an experience of highest honor and we humbly thank Scotch The Scribe for his tireless efforts and mastered skills. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we do. And as always, we are ever in debt to the kind and gracious lords of Creator-Destructor Records. Your unending support is ever appreciated, adventurers. We will soon see you.”
Based out of Ventura, California, GYGAX presently features a four-piece lineup of musicians who are no strangers to the world of heavy metal; vocalist/bassist Eric Harris formerly of Gypsyhawk, Skeletonwitch, and Sorcerer (and currently also filling bass duties in Huntress), and his Gypsyhawk partner-in-crime, guitarist Bryant Throckmorton continues to play alongside Harris in GYGAX. Jeff Potts, previously of Warbringer and Mantic Ritual, joins on the other six-string, and rounding out the lineup perfectly is current Pentagram drummer Peter Campbell.
Second Edition sees the band carrying on their unique blend of unadulterated vintage hard rock and gamer-centric imagery. Named after Gary Gygax (and blessed and approved by Gary Gygax Jr.), the band continues to showcase their love for Dungeons & Dragons, Thin Lizzy, and ‘70s boogie-fueled metal and classic rock – a deadly infectious sonic offering measured in equal parts by Eric Harris’ thematic lyrics of magic spells and fantastical characters.
After rapidly creating buzz with their local live performances, GYGAX released their aptly titled debut LP Critical Hits in January 2016, garnering stellar reviews worldwide. The band completed a highly successful two-week US run in the Summer of 2016, which included a headline appearance at the first ever Magic & Metal Festival at the Majestic Theater in GYGAX’s hometown. In 2018, GYGAX is eager to embark on yet another successful chapter in their critical conquest, starting with a headlining West Coast tour in mid-March.
GYGAX Second Edition West Coast Tour:
3/08/2018 Golden Bull - Oakland, CA w/ Glitter Wizard, Wilderness Dream
3/09/2018 Tonic Lounge - Portland, OR
3/10/2018 The Highline - Seattle, WA w/ T-Rox
3/11/2018 Blue Lamp - Sacramento, CA w/ Wilderness Dream
3/13/2018 Full Circle Brewery - Fresno, CA w/ Glacier Eater
3/15/2018 Shea’s Tavern - Tahoe, CA
3/16/2018 Cooper’s Alesworth - Nevada City, CA
3/17/2018 5 Star Bar - Los Angeles, CA
released March 16, 2018
Recorded in November 2017 w/ Scott Goodrich at Nu-Tone Studios
Too Doom-y for my own personal taste, but I say that as a fan of Traditional Heavy Metal. Desolation is a competent album, reminding me of oldschool Aryeon in some respects, albeit with a slower tempo and slightly heavier sound. A strong vocalist with a solid and clean sound to his voice really helps pull everything together. The progression of the album is really worth appreciating--by Flesh to Nothing the band is coming into their sound. Worth listening all the way through, certainly, and even more so if you were unsure about Doom metal. This might just change your mind and be your gateway.
Coming from a very picky traditional Metalhead, I give my kudos to Khemmis on this one. Yankee