|Review: Gygax - Critical Hits|
Label: Creator-Destructor Records
Year released: 2016
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 14, 2016
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (2 Votes)
For those who didn't grow up in the 80s playing table-top role-playing games, California's Gygax is named after the creator of Dungeons and Dragons, E. Gary Gygax. Combine that with the title of their debut album, Critical Hits, and you might be tempted to think the album is simply a tribute to the game or even a joke, but that isn't the case. The songs on Critical Hits certainly cover topics similar to those from the game (the cover even features a hand throwing all manner of dice) but they aren't poking fun. Musically, Gygax plays a traditional Heavy Metal with slightly gruff singing and chunky, simple riffs that, while definitely heavy, borrows liberally from 70s Hard Rock bands like KISS, Ted Nugent and Rainbow in the form of harmonized vocals, lead guitar intros and keyboards. There isn't a ton of truly memorable spots here though the instrumental "Dirge for a Deposed Duke," with its acoustic guitar and studio noise, is a great break in the middle of the album. It might be hard to remember specific things after the album is finished but it is almost impossible not to tap your foot while it is on and it is even better in the car.
Gygax has a gimmick but isn't insincere so here's hoping they can keep it fresh on future releases as well as up the ante in the songwriting department. Fans of 70s Hard Rock and the NWOBHM should be checking out Critical Hits.
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