Review by Greg Maki
After listening to “Second Edition,” I know exactly two things about the members of Gygax: They love “Dungeons & Dragons” and Thin Lizzy. And that’s all I really need to know.
Just one look at the album cover makes me want to gather my friends around a table, break out the dice and “Player’s Handbook,” and set out on a noble quest.
My only question: How didn’t I hear about this band before now?
Following “Critical Hits,” released in 2016, “Second Edition” is the sophomore effort from Gygax, which is named for “Dungeons & Dragons” creator Gary Gygax, and features former and current members of Gypsyhawk, Skeletonwitch, Sorcerer, Huntress, Warbringer, Mantic Ritual and Pentagram. The opening track, “Dice Throwers & Rock ‘n’ Rollers,” might as well be the band’s battle cry, full of boogie rhythms and bright, harmonizing and soloing guitars that will take you straight to the late ‘70s even if you weren’t around to experience them firsthand. The entire album, save the moody “Heavy Meddle,” proceeds in this fashion, and with eight songs running just shy of 34 minutes, it’s the perfect length for this sort of high-concept material.
Many are bound to dismiss Gygax as “nerdy” or “cheesy,” but that’s kind of the point. (How else could you possibly describe a song titled “The Lascivious Underdark?”) The band members—vocalist/bassist Eric Harris, guitarists Bryant Throckmorton and Jeff Potts, and drummer Peter Campbell—love what they love and make no apologies for it. That’s an endearing quality to have, especially when it translates to music as infectious as this.
(Creator-Destructor Records, March 16, 2018)