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Gygax - 2nd Edition

2nd Edition
by Chris Hawkins at 08 April 2018, 6:07 PM

If the name GYGAX has you stumped, don't feel alone.  Not all of the public is in the know that this band's name is taken from and in homage to the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax.  Based out of Ventura, California, "2nd Edition" is the allusive title of their surprisingly second release. The band sounds much more mature and gelled than what most would expect from just a sophomore album, but a look at some of the bands these guys have played with, or still are, should nail home their valued work history:  SKELETONWITCH, WARBRINGER, HUNTRESS, and PENTAGRAM.

Unabashedly, these guys worship at the altar of the mighty THIN LIZZY, a fact made apparent from just the first few moments of "2nd Edition" and one that lends them a lot of credit from this reviewer.  When picking one's influences, it helps to aim high, which is what this band has assuredly done as listening to the rest of the album reveals some interesting elements assembled from the annals of Heavy Metal and Rock.  The first track, "Dice Throwers and Rock 'n Rollers," sets the tempo high for the rest of the record as it dials in a bit more aggression than other tunes, but most interestingly, the band makes the song memorable with a long interlude in the middle with dueling solos followed by a slightly more relaxed section before returning to the high energy.  Besides having one of the most curious song titles, track three, "The Lascivious Underdark," is a salacious buffet of tasty riffs.  The choice of chords is of particular note for when the ear expects a dirty part, they inject a more augmented melodic chord, and vice versa.  The funky fifth track, "Song of the Silver Hands," conjures thoughts of Southern Rock fury, and the horns toward the end invoke the classic SKYNYRD song, "Call Me the Breeze."  "Second Wind" is the perfect selection for the last track as it rounds up all the band's strengths displayed throughout the album under one banner.  The piano chords on top of pointed, intrepid guitar melodies constructed through the tactful marriage of dual harmonies solidify the song as classic.  The solos at the end will drop the jaws of musicians and fans alike for they roll out their most mighty of cannons to properly finish the album.

Listening to GYGAX is just as appropriate for road-tripping as for partying, having special time with the lady, and throwing the dice to determine whether your fire spell will be adequate for a quick escape from the salivating jaws of an ugly, evil behemoth.  Truly, the material is timeless, and whether you were smoking out while spinning "Jailbreak" in 1976, last week, or both, you are guaranteed to dig this record!  The vocals are not polarizing as they add just enough aggression to the melodic crooning, and the drums are played with an expert swinging, jazzy style.  When the guitars drop out for their dual harmonies, the bass is right there holding everything together with its growling, meaty classic sound.  The guitar tone is spot on.  Regardless of what amps are used, it is clear that the band have nailed the classic front-loaded Marshall 1970s tone for the chords shimmer eloquently and the drive is clearly controlled through the restraint and release of the players' hands.  Names with marked diversity and weight such as Pat Travers, John Sykes, and Dickie Betts come to mind when listening to the riffs, harmonies, and solos on the album for like classically trained artists, the guitarists paint a picture through their music.  The final picture is presented when the themes presented are blended with the listener's own imagination creating an impactful, personal experience.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Dice Throwers and Rock 'n Rollers
2. It Makes It Worth it
3. The Lascivious Underdark
4. Pure Hearts
5. Song of the Silver Hands
6. Wish
7. Heavy Meddle
8. Second Wind
Bryant Throckmorton - Guitar
Eric Harris - Bass, Vocals
Jeff Potts - Guitar
Peter Campbell – Drums
Record Label: Creator-Destructor Records


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Edited 29 November 2022

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