Published Jun 19, 2019If you are going to name your band after the co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax, and call your third LP High Fantasy, you'd best be ready to put your manna where your mouth is and play some epic power metal. Formed by ex-Huntress bassist Eric Harris and guitarist Bryant Throckmorten (not a fantasy name, we checked), Gygax serve up sword-and-sorcery music for all your tabletop RPG needs.
The band's bio states that their two biggest influences are Dungeons & Dragons and Thin Lizzy. As such, Gygax ironically occupy the less over-the-top end of the power metal scale, sounding more pub rock then symphonic metal. This badly hurts the overall effect. Riffs that should fly like wild wyverns fall flat. For a song like "Mirror Image," which by all reasoning should be a breakneck romp, to come out sounding like Bryan Adams is just sad. Power metal's whole appeal comes from the bands' willingness to throw all shame to the four winds in the search of the epic. High Fantasy doesn't sound epic. It sounds like a Judas Priest tribute stocked by musicians too afraid to admit they still play videogames.
Epic symphonic metal has been on a high kick in the last few years: Nightwish and Dimmu Borgir have been resurrected; Amon Amarth have a new album out; Devin Townsend is back on tour and Alestorm/Gloryhammer frontman Chris Bowes just keeps getting sillier. With all of these great options, it's difficult to justify spending time on Gygax. Better luck next time, boys. Crank everything out of first gear and maybe you'll get somewhere. (Creator Destructor)