BY: TJ FOWLER
Available: January, 22, 2016
Label: Creator-Destructor Records
What do you get when you mix in some Thin Lizzy, Manilla Road, April Wine, Dungeons and Dragons and odd shaped dice? Well you get Gygax and their album ‘Critical Hits’ and by the cursed hand of Vecna does it blast forth hymns of classic rock that Demogorgon could head bang both his baboon heads to.
Named after the late Gary Gygax who helped create Dungeons and Dragons, the musical bards of Gygax crank out catchy hard rock tunes that sound like Phil Lynott is singing, have lyrical themes of Manilla Road and have the sound of the hard rock bands of mid to late 70’s bands that predominated that time period.
While, Gygax is very steeped in the fantasy aspect lyrically and are obvious players of D&D they don’t write songs that cater to just a D&D player so as they don’t become some kind of a novelty act for a gaming crowd only. The band are too good of musicians and songwriters to just pigeon hole themselves into writing songs that all center on some kind of specific D&D lore. Gygax takes the general idea of D&D and the imagination it helps spark to create their own themes and subject matter which in turn will help them draw in fans that are both rock and metal fans and not exclusively a D&D fan. The closest you will get to a specific D&D title is the song ‘Chain Lightning’ which is a spell in the game.
So what you get on ‘Critical Hits’ are songs that talk about spell casters, demons supernatural events and so on but the themes are kept general enough to appeal to a wide audience. So for the hardcore D&D fan who is looking for songs based on Vecna, Warduke, Raisltin, Forgotten Realms or the Abyss and Nine Hells look elsewhere as you won’t find any lyrical themes that are that specific here. However if you like D&D, or if you like classic rock and you like GREAT music, or if you like all three, then Gygax’s ‘Critial Hits’ is definitely not rolling a 1 but several natural 20’s in a row.