Revelry & Resilience

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After naming their first album Patience & Perseverance, Los Angeles-based heavy rockers Gypsyhawk christened their sophomore follow-up Revelry & Resilience -- see a pattern developing here? But as heartwarming as it is to learn that the band's "patient perseverance" has already left them feeling confident enough to "revel in their resilience" -- even though virtually no one outside discerning underground circles is remotely aware of their existence -- perhaps we'd better review the latest musical results before placing any bets on the a third album title (Satisfaction & Self-Indulgence? Suspicion & So-Long? Maybe Sense and Sensibility?). Well, on paper at least, Gypsyhawk possess all of the tools needed to succeed: a shiny new deal with Metal Blade Records, a very competent, if not exactly show-stopping lead singer (more on that in a bit), top-notch instrumental chops, and a focused musical direction involving classic metal and hard rock inspirations that yield the spirited guitar leads of "The Fields," the alluring Thin Lizzy harmonies of "Overloaded" and "Hedgeking," and the catchy licks and manic speed of "State Lines." The fantasy-laced adventures pervading these and other songs like "Frostwyrm" and "The Red Wedding" also reveal the influence of dungeons & dragons metal bands like Bible of the Devil and the Sword upon Gypsyhawk's lyrics, if not always their music ("1345" being a glaring exception); but in doing so, one suddenly appreciates the considerable qualitative gap between the influencer and influencee. What's more, once Eric Harris' hoarse declamations become increasingly annoying midway through (right around "Galaxy Rise"), and second half duds like "Night Songs from the Desert" and "Silver Queen" grow disappointingly dull and even awkwardly refinished, the wings really start coming off the ol' Gypsyhawk, in a manner of speaking. To put it another way, Revelry & Resilience does a lot of head-down rocking without providing nearly enough fist-raising payoffs, and those are physical responses any knowledgeable rocker can relate to -- and demand of their favorite bands. Gypsyhawk, needless to say, aren't quite there yet, so stand by for that third album.

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