Gypsy Chief Goliath
It’s A Walk In The Mist
Black Vulture Records Sweden
Official Release: December 2011
Produced By: Alex Petrovich
Recorded At: A Muskoka cottage.
2011 has been the best year for many local bands, and Gypsy Chief Goliath is no exception. Technically, the only member who calls Windsor home is lead vocalist/producer Al ‘Yeti Bones’ Petrovich but I know all of the band’s members hold this town close to their hearts, and they probably play live here more than any other city. This band never ceases to amaze me, whether it be their alcohol-fuelled, rowdy live shows or this one-of-a-kind debut album. “It’s A Walk In The Mist” was definitely one of the most anticipated albums of the year, as the band was waiting for a few things to fall into place to make sure the release was a great success. Rest assured, it has been well worth the wait and I honestly can’t think of a local band more deserving of recognition. Now let’s get right into the album itself.
“It’s A Walk In The Mist” starts off with the band’s first single “Black Samurai”, a definite crowd favourite. A slow, heavy, grooving track that never fails to induce head banging. Great guitar solo from lead guitarist Dave Ljubanovich with lots of wah, accompanied by the subtle but essential harmonica, courtesy of Brodie Stevenson.
The second track on the album is “The Return”, which in my opinion features some of Al Petrovich’s best vocals on the disc, which is saying a lot. He does a great job of taking his vocal influences and putting his own unique spin on it. Reminiscent of old school blues and jazz singers such as Howlin’ Wolf and Louis Armstrong.
“Cold Hand Of Death” is next in line, and features deep, groovy bass by John Kendrick. This song is about the inevitability of dying, or so I gather from the lyrics: “When you’ve reached the decision to where you want to live / You know the reaper will follow with the cold hand of death.”
One of the newer tracks on the album, “We Are The Devil’s Thieves”, is a straight-up hard rock track which features banjo? I know it doesn’t make sense to read that, but it really does work in moderation, and they did a great job incorporating a bluegrass instrument into such a rockin’ tune.
“Dreaming In Color” features more of Brodie’s “harmonica harmonies” which is really a staple in G.C.G.’s overall sound. I find Al’s vocals on this track to be a hybrid of Neil Fallon (Clutch) and Brent Hinds (Mastodon), whether it was intentional or not. It really is a great asset to have multiple vocal styles, and this is what sets him apart from most.
“Elephant In The Room” is another classic G.C.G. track, which they have been playing live for as long as I can remember. It is such a heavy hitting song that you can’t help but move to the beat. It’s also worth mentioning that the idea for the album title “It’s A Walk In The Mist” came from lyrics in this song.
“Intermission” is just what it sounds like, and I can only assume they put it on the disc to separate it into two halves. A fun, quirky, mash of organ and Celtic-style wizardry.
The one song that you wouldn’t expect to be on this album is “Chapter Fire”, throwing listeners a fantastic curveball. It is a little outside the box for this band, but a great song nonetheless. It actually shows that Gypsy Chief Goliath can’t and shouldn’t be put in a box, and that’s ultimately what a great band should be all about.
The title “Out Of Control” says it all about the next track. By far the fastest and most aggressive song on the album. Absolutely stellar performance from drummer Adam Saiti. It’s the kind of song that if you listen to it while driving you might get pulled over for speeding.
“Course Of Time” is one of the few tracks I hadn’t heard until I obtained a copy of the album, and it quickly became my favorite song of the lot. It’s a mellow, beautiful masterpiece that was put together perfectly. The song musicians work their whole career to create.
“Listen To Static” has always been at the top of my list for overall well-rounded songs from the group. It takes you in many directions, from “hard as fuck,” to “groove” to “bluesy rock.”
Last but definitely not least, what album would be complete without a sing-a-long! Perfectly placed within the album as the grand finale, Saint Covens Tavern always gets the crowd going with its Irish feel. Whether you find yourself at one of their live performances, or listening to the album in your car on the way to work at 6:15 in the morning, you can’t help but raise your beer (or coffee) and yell “Hey!” in time with the song. It’s the most appropriate way to end this absolutely brilliant album. “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa oh oh oh !!!”
It has been my pleasure to review, in my opinion, not only the best local album of 2011, but the best album of any band this year. If you don’t already own this work of art, please buy it and support this band. Also, a new DVD is to be released in the near future. The rumour is that they are already starting to write the follow-up to “It’s A Walk In The Mist,” so stay tuned for more details on their facebook.com page or http://www.yetiagency.com. You can catch them live (I strongly recommend doing so) at Villains Beastro on Saturday, December 3rd, for the CD release party of legendary local rockers Grand Marais.