Live Photos by Albert Mansour [click to enlarge]
One of the most important ideals we here at Axis Of Metal have is an underground sensibility. We are always on the lookout for new unheard talent and are determined to bring you, the Axis community up to speed on these tremendous acts that deserve to be heard. The Underground Spotlight will be a re-occurring column every time a band tickles our fancy, so expect irregular updates in this column.
The first entry in The Underground Spotlight will be about a Canadian stoner-doomy-southern metal band known as Gypsy Chief Goliath. There is a bit of an aside to this band though. The first time I had the pleasure of hearing this band was live at a Cryptopsy show of all places. They had an opening slot, and stuck out like a sore thumb against the rest of the bill. It was kind of funny to be completely honest. It was an onslaught of death metal / core that night, and then out of nowhere this band comes up on stage and slings their dirty riffs; in fact I was just about to go out for a smoke as they were setting up on stage, but for some reason something made me stay inside; I’m glad I had.
If I remember correctly the reason I stayed was because I saw Brodie, setting up on stage, but he had no guitar or bass, instead he had a harmonica. At this point I began to think … wait? Harmonica in death metal? Harmonica in core? Harmonica in anything resembling a Cryptopsy sound? I feared the absolute worst, but as soon as the first dirty notes began billowing out of Al “The Yeti” Bones’ amp, I knew I was in for something extraordinary.
As the set rolled on, their brand of Clutch-esque-doomy-southerny sound had me mesmerized. I remember immediately after their set going to their merch table to pick up a CD, but to my disappointment there weren’t any CDs. Thumbs down!
The days following the show I began rummaging through their social media outlets to hear their music, and once I did, I knew I had found that gem. As the months rolled on something terrific happened. It almost seemed like the stars aligned, and the music gods looked down upon me and bestowed a digital promo for “It’s A Walk In The Mist”. As I cursed at my internet connection to download it faster, I could only feel that this was a sign. A sign of a love affair that would most definitely intensify.
As I listened to the shit out of that album, I wondered if I’d ever see the band live again considering they are located a good distance away from my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. Two days after receiving the promo, Kill Devil Hill was slated to play a local venue in Hamilton and since I’m not a fan of that band, and my bank account was aching I was going to miss that show. Then as if the stars aligned once again; something had possessed me to check the Facebook event page for the show to see who was opening, and low and behold … Gypsy Chief Goliath was scheduled to play. WOW! I think I jumped right off my chair, but the fact that I was uber broke was still prohibiting me from going, but once again another lucky break was at hand, and a very good pal of mine got me onto the guestlist at the last minute. SUCCESS! So I raced out of my house, grabbed the bus, and made my way to the venue. Boy was I glad I made it in time!
Now any band worth their salt has to be able to bring the goods when performing live, and let me assure you all, Gypsy Chief Goliath is more than capable of translating their studio work to the live environment. Once again the band was an odd addition to the bill, but when they took the stage, their presence was remarkable. Any person who frequents concerts knows when they are in the midst of a talented band, and given the fact that I had heard the album umpteen times I was more than impressed with their performance.
Gypsy Chief Goliath is a band that keeps the riff in mind when composing music. Every song played that night and on their album is full of those catchy, foot stompin’ riffs. Once those riffs get mixed in with Al’s soaring dirty vocals and the peppering of harmonica, you have yourself an amalgamation of sonic excellence that will please any fan of a Clutch-esque sound.
Another vibe I caught from the band was an heir of honesty. It felt like the whole band was up there because they loved what they played, and truly believed in themselves and were determined to destroy the place. As their set rolled on more and more people began trickling to the front of the stage and by the conclusion of the set, cheers and feverish clapping roared through the venue. Being a genuine fan of the band I was pleased with their performance and their display cemented my immense love for this band.
At the end of the day it’s bands like this that keep my faith in the underground metal scene. There are a million more dedicated and hardworking bands such as this one, you just have to look hard enough, and keep your ear glued to the ground.
If you’re wondering where you can find their music, you can navigate to their Facebook page, their Myspace or their Reverbnation page. Also you too can experience the same set I did via the Youtube player below.
So this concludes the first entry in The Underground Spotlight, expect many more sporadic updates, and lookout for an in-depth review of Gypsy Chief Goliath’s long-player “It’s A Walk In The Mist”, in the coming days!
Gypsy Chief Goliath live:
About the Author
My beginnings as a metalhead, sprouted from a love of classic rock, and punk. Well, being 11 years old, Offspring and Blink-182 were as hardcore as they came, right? Anyway, after enjoying stuff like Zeppelin, Rush, Cream and pop-punk, I was introduced to grunge music, and that really paved the way for my insatiable taste for music. From there, I became totally obsessed with music. My love of punk evolved into bands like Black Flag, The Casualties (early), and eventually becoming enamored with discharge. As my need for speed and ugliness intensified, I was introduced to Slayer in high-school, and thus ... the metalhead was born.
Cool story, eh? I thought so too. Anyway, Axis Of Metal is created for you, yea you. Without all the support we've received over the past few years this zine would be nothing. So, enjoy, and stick around, will ya?