From the band Skeletonwitch, former Death/Thrash Metaller Eric Harris has leapt back into the '70's with his new project, Gypsyhawk. The band's new album, Patience and Perseverance (Creator-Destructor Records) is a voyage straight back to the great Hard Rock of the '70's and '80's of bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and especially paying homage to the great Thin Lizzy, with a little Motorhead thrown in for good measure. Fueled with tons of Lizzy-like twin guitar harmonies, Gypsyhawk plow through over an hours worth of riffy, guitar heavy old school Hard Rock. A far cry from the usual fare of Hard Rock these days and worlds away from where bassist/vocalist Eric Harris has come from, Gypsyhawk takes us back to a simpler time, but with a modern slant.
The first thing that you notice about Patience and Perseverance is the striking album cover. Dark, eerie and mystical, you are not quite sure what this CD has in store. From the title and cover art work, it looks like something from the early days of Fates Warning and you might be expecting something heavy and progressive, but then you would be mistaken. Instead you will be served up a slice of classic rock, brimming with a duo of heavy guitar riffage. Gypsyhawk, featuring vocals and bass from Harris, also includes the twin guitar work of guitar players Andrew Parker & Scotty Conant, and drummer Joe Fabio and together meld a mixture of classic Hard Rock with an almost Punk feel. Gypsyhawk don't really follow a certain "style" song wise, instead allowing themselves to delve into a few different areas of musical expression. Songs like, "Planet Former" allows the band to stretch out with a funky, almost trippy feel, while a song like "Commander of the High Forest" with it's high energy opening bass line and harmony guitar wielding over top, picks up the pace quite a bit. Vocals on this track, especially remind me of something like a younger Lemmy, raspy and kinda hoarse, and "Eyes of Ibad" hark back to the Irish tones of Lizzy's "Black Rose". And again mentioning Thin Lizzy, check out the song, "For Those Who Love the Lizz", a tribute to the magic that was Phil Lynott & band, filled with fan/heart felt lyrics recalling Lizzy song titles and imagery that Lynott first wrote for all of us to bask in. A very cool tribute, indeed.
One thing that Gypsyhawk DO like to do is to have a lot of instrumental interludes. There are a lot of extended breaks where it feels like a twin guitar harmony lead is thrown in for a good measure to do nothing more than to just show what they can do, making a 3 minute song into a 5 plus minute song. Not that the songs are overly long (the longest song clocking in at 6:30) but the extended harmony breaks seem forced and gratuitous, more so than feeling as a necessary part of the song. This is where comparisons to a band like Thin Lizzy are lost, the actual song writing.Three quarters of the way through Patience and Perseverance I was about sick of the guitar harmonies and the songs are decent but not completely strong enough to pull you through.
However, it is nice to hear some Classic Hard Rock these days, with all of the Deathcore/Metalcore nonsense of every other so-called Metal band of the month, but Gypsyhawk come up a little short to me. There are other bits and pieces of bands like Helmet, for example, that you can also hear in Gypsyhawk, along with the Thin Lizzy-esque type of formula, but Patience and Perseverance is not quite a hit, though also not a complete miss either. Patience and Perseverance is a decent effort, but could use some tightening up on the songwriting. All and all, not bad.
2. Planet Former
3. Commander of the High Forest
4. Eyes of Ibad
5. Rebellion on the Western Shore
6. For Those Who Love the Lizz
7. The Bokor's Procession
8. Resentment City
10. The Rabble and the Ruled
12. Defenders of Good Times