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Gygax - High Fantasy

High Fantasy
by Chris Hawkins at 01 July 2019, 9:40 PM

After listening to Metal for a long time, it is always refreshing to hear things come full circle.  Such is the case with GYGAX.  Though only four years into their existence, the band have released their third full-length, “High Fantasy,” maintaining their clear-cut worship for classic, burgeoning Metal, particularly the dual guitar harmonies of THIN LIZZY.

Just last year, I reviewed the band’s sophomore release, “2nd Edition” for Metal Temple.  This was perhaps the greatest impetus for my desire to cover this new album and it is abundantly clear from the crystalline harmonies within the first track, “Light Bender,” that the band have retained their massive sound.  It is with the second track, “Hide Mind,” though, that the album really takes off.  The riffs are more potent and the inclusion of slick vocal harmonies gives a catchiness that is simply indisputable.

A sound such as this is not just thrown together.  The tone must be spot-on to pull off the classic formula envisioned within these guys’ collective mind.  The guitars are swollen full of mid-range and played through just-dirty-enough amps to sound authentic.  By dialing back the gain, those harmonies effectively cut through the mix.  The bass is given a wide berth allowing the grungy clack of each note to be discernible in grand Phil Lynott fashion.  That careful attention to classic albums that may have drawn question marks from their peers bears fruitful results when listening to the lush sound the band have assembled.

The songs on here are short, sweet, and to the point.  The end result is a collection of tunes that could all be run through in a typical live set.  In fact, a change in format for the band is that there are no songs on here breaching the four-minute mark.

Sixth track, “Spell Shaker,” has a unique intensity.  Propelled forward by the constant pulse of the bass, the melodies become yet more powerful.  Having two simply devastating guitarists allows for some potent lead work as evidenced by this song among others.  The seventh track, “Something So Familiar,” further proliferates the band’s cause.

For those unfamiliar with the band, there is a reason for the fantasy theme that runs throughout the songs.  The band derived their name from Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons.  Assuredly, high fantasy runs deep within these guy’s souls.  The blending of the lyrical themes with such an honest devotion to classic Metal is more than admirable but rather doing a service to the scene at large.  Hopefully, kids not in the know will be exposed to this band and become indoctrinated.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Light Bender
2. Hide Mind
3. Mage Lust
4. Mirror Image
5. Acquisition, Magnus Canis
6. Spell Shaker
7. Something So Familiar
8. The Eyes Have It
9. High Fantasy

Eric Harris - Bass, Backing Vocals
Bryan Throckmorton – Guitars
Ian Martyn - Keyboards
Wes Wilson – Guitars

Record Label: Creator-Destructor Records


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