IRON GYPSY – Iron Gypsy (Album Review)

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Iron GypsyDo you want refinement? Forget it. Intricacy? Nah. Sophistication? Ram it.

If you want straight-up, balls-out, head-banging hard rock, then sign here.

Iron Gypsy did their thing back in the 1980’s but unfortunately did not attain the popularity of fellow Canadians Anvil and Triumph, never mind megastars Rush.

The band’s line-up was very unstable and inconsistent with logistics and personality issues hindering any real progress that may have been achieved.

Jim “Wickley” Mark (vocals, guitar) is the one consistent member, playing alongside numerous other musicians including the wonderfully named Randy Rampage and Doug Donut.

The boys managed to rustle up two EPs, Iron Gypsy in 1984 and Take #2 in 1987. Both releases were few in number and soon became very rare. It may have taken 30-odd years but all credit to No Remorse Records for amalgamating these two records into one quality, self-titled, release.

Iron Gypsy is now available on both CD and vinyl and although it originates from the mid-80’s the sound reflects a slightly earlier time and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Raw, unfettered and unhampered, the energy is tangible.

There is no mixing and matching going on with Iron Gypsy, it’s a simple case of the first four songs are the first EP and the second four songs are Take #2. Straightforward.

Whilst being a straight up rocker there is plenty of variation to maintain interest. “Hell and Back”  gets us under way with power and speed but is quickly followed by the darker and more deliberate “For the Crown”.

Back in the day

Jim “Wickley” Mark’s vocals are from the Bon Scott school but with added menace which fits perfectly with the songs. Being multi-talented, Mark also supplies some great guitar licks, riffs, and solos, which are what “Need Your Lovin’” is built around.

The biggest departure in style is “Streetwize” which is a belter. A few sounds of the street lead into a funky heavy bass line which is maintained throughout. The track drips attitude and filth, like a 1970’s porn movie. Apparently.

“Now or Never” is stripped down to the absolute basics, I reckon the producer went to the toilet when this was recording and forgot to do anything with it when he got back. It works magnificently.

Jim Mark gets his fingers working overtime on “Shaker”, a speedy affair with a simple singalong verse.

“T.A.W.” maintains the pace and singalonginess (made up word) until we finish with “(In a) Rock n Roll Band”, a celebration of doing what they love the most. It’s the poppiest of the lot and very reminiscent of those old British rockers Spider.

Don’t expect Iron Gypsy to be ground-breaking, but do expect good, honest rock and roll.

BUY: IRON GYPSY

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