What makes a new album, anyways? A couple of the tracks on this Southern Ontario outfit’s third effort have been in their live set for years, and previously appeared on their independently-released debut from 2012. But just as Sons of OTIS recycled a chunk of Spacejumbofudge into Temple Ball, Gypsy Chief Goliath is giving songs like “Black Samurai” and “Elephant in the Room” a new audience on Citizens of Nowhere, their second release for Cyprus-based Pitch Black Records.
That’s not to say it’s all old hat. “The Sting” gets things off to a rollicking start, a solid mid-paced chug-a-lug with shades of Down and Pantera. “Holding Grace” is a nice ‘n heavy blues with stop-start riffs and some melodic guitar lines. The title track hits like a Robocop punch to the solar plexus, with grimy, distorted riffs beneath gruff sandpaper vocals. And hey, the newly recorded renditions of “Samurai” and “Elephant” still pack a wallop!
Unexpectedly mellow ballad “Gloomy Tombs” precedes the light/heavy dynamic of “Odyssey”—three-ton riffs given time to breathe between a steady rhythm section and relatively clean vocals. The straight-ahead stomp of “We Died for This” borders on Maryland doom, but they save the doomiest for “Witchcraft for the Ages,” a driving, brooding mid-tempo tune with some mighty fine riffage.
The album ends with a competent cover of “Killing Yourself to Live.” Can’t say I’ve heard that one in their live set before…