Gypsyhawk - Patience and Perseverance
Classic/Stoner Metal
12 songs (65:21)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Tyler
Surprise of the month

Ah, the classics. Those beloved bands that, through sheer creativity and an unrelenting pioneer spirit, paved a road that many have traveled since. A road that has been followed by many since, and widened into many complex and fascinating side roads. The road that we know as metal. Without such fearless acts as Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and the criminally underrated Thin Lizzy, the music scene and our lives as a whole would be dramatically different. As such, it is at the very worst encouraging seeing so many bands nowadays that seem hell bent on recapturing the classic sound of those 70’s metal heroes and putting a modern spin on it. Hell, it is practically in vogue, with hero-hailing bands such as Wolfmother, Airbourne, and The Sword growing rapidly in mainstream popularity. Some of the bands that make up this emerging “retro” scene seem to “get it”, while inevitably others don’t. You have bands that merely rip off the sound of their primarily influences (sometimes blatantly) and you have bands that take the “classic” sound and infuse it with fresh new influences (quite often, these bands draw quite heavily from stoner rock). When I opened up my copy of California quartet Gypsyhawk’s debut album, Patience and Perseverance, it took me about half of a listen to understand that this band certainly “gets it”. If you are fixing for an album overflowing with dangerous quantities of twin harmonies, dueling solos, lazy stoner vibes, and any number of other 70’s rock-isms, consider yourself fixed.

I’ve been listening to a lot of music that I would consider “complex” lately; music that takes a little time and effort to fully appreciate. I love music like that, and I think that any album that can be fully digested on one listen probably isn’t all that great of an album. That being said, it was a personal breath of fresh air listening to Patience and Perseverance. It certainly isn’t a “one and done” type album, but it is one that is easy to listen to, as any listener raised on “the classics” will feel plenty comfortable with Gypsyhawk. Like most of the bands from the current “retro” scene, the band’s sound draws from a number of classic rock flavors, from stoner and psychedelic to blues and jazz. Unlike many of those bands however, there is a certain “jam session “ vibe to the album’s songs, as if the band had some general ideas when entering the studio but let much of what is on the album happen spontaneously. This is a nice contrast from the modern way of making albums, where the focus is on pre-production and doing multiple takes of every part of every song.

While fans of bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin will find plenty to like here, fans of the mighty Thin Lizzy will most likely find this album particularly enticing. There are an absolutely gluttonous amount of twin harmonies and trade-off solos that sound like they could’ve been written by the legendary Irish band in the 70’s. The band walk the oft-treaded line between blues and stoner rock that recent bands such as The Sword and Clutch have recently ruled, but with a greater emphasis on agile guitar leads most of their contemporaries. And speaking of Thin Lizzy, Gypsyhawk throw in a clear tribute to the band that appears to be its biggest influence on the song For Those That Love the Lizz. Packed with Lizzy-esque harmonies and bright guitar solos, it is a feel-good rocker that reminded me of why I don’t listen to Thin Lizzy nearly as much as I should.

On Patience and Perseverance, Gypsyhawk come out swinging; the harmonies are consistently memorable, the rhythm section is loose and relaxed without being sloppy, and singer/bassist Eric Harris (formerly of Skeletonwitch) sings confidently throughout, regardless of the mood or tempo of the songs. However, while the band’s talent for interesting jam-style excursions is undeniable, their talent for augmenting those jams with big vocal hooks leaves much to be desired. Harris’ has a decent vocal range and he uses that range well, but he doesn’t produce many vocal parts that are particularly memorable, and there aren’t any real choruses to speak of. However, the band does a decent job of making up for this by churning one memorable musical segment after another. Throughout Patience and Perseverance, the band touches on everything from classic metal and punk to jazz, blues, stoner rock, and even some Baroness-esque post-rock and sludge.

Had Gypsyhawk put a bigger emphasis on songwriting, the songs on Patience and Perseverance would have sounded much more like “songs” and less like “jams”, in which case this album would have been frighteningly good. Clocking in at over an hour, one has to truly love the musical style those aforementioned “classic” bands, because that, more than the songwriting of those bands, is the emphasis here. That being said, this is Gypsyhawk’s first proper album, and making something as enjoyable as Patience and Perseverance is certainly no small feat. It is at once a nostalgia-inducing reminder of what once was and a confident look forward. Even with an absence of any real anthems, this album is feel-good rock ‘n’ roll with enthusiasm and confidence, and Gypsyhawk manages to attain that through a variety of mediums, both musically and lyrically. The lyrics range from serious and cryptic to typical tunes about drugs and women, but it works well and avoids being cliche while still maintaining a “fun” vibe. With summer slowly fading away, those in need of a few more good times in the good weather should get there hands on Patience and Perseverance pronto.

Killing Songs :
Gypsyhawk, Commander of the High Forest, Eyes of Ibad, Rebellion on the Western Shore, For Those Who Love the Lizz, The Bokor's Procession, Blackhaven
Tyler quoted 79 / 100
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