Gypsyhawk
"Patience and Perseverance"

(Creator-Destructor Records 2010)Gypsyhawk - Patience and Perseverance

Gypsyhawk was founded by former Skeletonwitch bassist Eric Harris, who presumably wanted to practice his ability to name bands by mashing together two random, metal-sounding words. Actually, we can learn a lot about the differences between Harris' outfits from each group's moniker. Skeletons and witches are perfect imagery for that band's blackened thrash attack. On the other hand, gypsies and hawks, along with the naked bird-lady cover art, should give us come clues as to where "Patience and Perseverance" is going. Yup, Gypsyhawk take their cues from '70s hard rock, with a distinct modern bent, and a slice of psychedelia to taste.

While the framework of "Patience and Perseverance" may owe a fair bit to Thin Lizzy, the album is shot through with a generous dose of jam-band sensibilities. Opener "Gypsyhawk" is easily the most straightforward rocker, and it quickly gives way to a band that takes great pleasure in constructing Thin Lizzy and Sabbath-influenced jam pieces around playful guitar riffing and full, epic compositions. Scotty Conant's tasteful solos intertwine with rambling melodies and coil around Harris' nimble bass lines, making for a record that shows off each member's instrumental prowess, while creating an immersive atmosphere as well. Though many of the songs lack for traditional-type hooks, the passion and consideration put into the music usually makes up for it. The only real drawback to the album is that, at over an hour, the lack of editing can make it drag a bit; cheesy Phil Lynott worship tune "For Those Who Love the Lizz" probably should have been excised.

Musicians who fire up a new band (or even a side project) need to do this more often: put out material that sounds absolutely nothing like their old gig. Who knew that from Skeletonwitch's harsh permafrost we'd get such a heady brew as "Patience and Perseverance?" Kudos to Harris for not only for setting Gypsyhawk at the opposite side of the field from his old band, but for executing his vision swimmingly.

B+

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