Band: Gypsy Chief Goliath
Album: Masters of Space and Time
Label: Earsplit/Kozmik Artifact
Release Date: February 22nd, 2019
I like to consider myself a well-rounded metalhead, I like bands of almost every subgenre but one of my favorites has to be stoner metal. From my first time hearing, Fu Manchu and Mastodon to going through High On Fire’s Death Is This Communion album for the one-millionth time last weekend, I’ve loved the genre. Once I tell people this, it usually comes as a surprise to them that I am not a fan of smoking. I’m not here to preach my personal beliefs and frankly, I don’t care if you smoke or not, what I do care about though, is the newest release from Gypsy Chief Goliath. Forty-two minutes of the fuzzy, chugging riffs I’ve come to expect from the genre with welcome surprises like the bluesy and almost southern atmosphere of the songs.
This is not the band’s first rodeo, their fourth studio album to date “Masters of Space and Time” is a testament to the band’s clearly carved out their sound. From the first track, I knew I was in for a new experience, I was teleported into a world of interesting tones, vocals, and riffs. A lot of the music’s direction is led by frontman Al “Yeti” Bones, which is good because what sets these guys apart from the crowd is definitely his vocal performance. One moment we can be in the middle of a chill, laid back riff while Bones is singing in a classic country rock flavored voice and the next we’re thrown into an ocean of rough and sick riffs all directed by the gravelly roar that shows us where the nickname “Yeti” comes from. From interviews and statements, the band doesn’t seem to fear experimentation, shown best in the track “Stranger Desires” where a keyboard is used in the chorus to back the already engaging musical elements demonstrated by the band.
One thing that I can’t stand is when people defend bland music from the genre by saying “Well you’re supposed to be stoned while you listen to it”, and I’m glad G.C.G feels the same way. This album was an absolute blast from start to finish, and as someone new to the band, I was shocked when they brought out the harmonica a couple of tracks in to freshen everything up. There was never a point where the album trudged along or felt like a slough, instead, it was all natural, save for a couple of bridges and choruses that overstayed their welcomes. Keeping along with the good surprises that came with the album, I was shocked (and a little horrified) when the band had the guts to pull of a solo at the same time as the vocal climax of the song, only to hear it turn out as a cacophony of righteous bluesy metal that worked together perfectly. I’m not sure what these guys were smoking during production, but they need it for every album after this one because there isn’t a single track that I didn’t enjoy.
The album blurs the lines between blues, rock and roll, and metal while also pulling it off better than any other band I’ve heard. That being said, this album tends to stick to the rock and roll side of their sound more than metal, while that isn’t much of an issue, there were a few times where I felt a belted roar would’ve been better than the slick clean vocals. While that is my opinion, as I write this review I’ve been listening to their past work and it sounds a bit more balanced between the three influences. That isn’t to say that the heavy rock influence is bad, I would say it was quite the opposite actually. A 70’s rock vibe flows through this album throughout the whole album, you can sense the influence from bands like Steely Dan and even 90’s grunge like pearl jam in the occasional moment. I think it would safe to call these guys prog-stoner doom, or maybe not prog, experimental might be the right word? It’s hard to tell actually but I do know that it’s an impressive feat to fit a harmonica, keyboard, and organ all into the same album.
The most important thing in music like this is that the artist enjoys what they’re doing and oh man can you feel the love in this album. Gypsy Chief Goliath have released an amazing album that any band should feel proud of. I went into this album expecting a pretty nice experience and recieving a wondeful album that I can add to my music library. Gypsy Chief Goliath are a new band to me and so unknown that it should be a crime. I look forward to the day when Gypsy Chief Goliath take the stage alongside the likes of Bongzilla, Down, and Mastodon. Truly this album is a masterpiece that you only get to hear once every few years if you’re lucky.
- City of Ghosts
- Highway Man
- Low Cost of Living High
- Stranger Desires
- Sun Prelude
- Into the Sun
- Crash N’ Burn
- Masters of Space and Time
Total Playing Time: 41:36
The epitome of power metal and folk metal (although a big fan of doom too). You can catch me playing/writing for dungeons and dragons with my friends at the local tabletop game store.