It is hard to find a band purveying the well-loved nuances of the best of 80’s metal in today’s world, and it is even harder to find a band as fresh and ready to rumble as Washington’s own Greyhawk. Having only formed two years ago in 2016, guitarist Jesse Berlin and bassist Darin Wall met in Seattle and decided to combine forces. The duo – now full of ideas but in dire need of a full band line-up to bring their thoughts to fruition – commenced the mission of finding the missing members of the band. They finally resurfaced with opera-trained vocalist Revere Taylor, guitarist Enrico Mariuzzo and drummer Nate Butler. Of course, from there, it wasn’t long until the band had created enough material to coalesce into their very first EP called “Ride Out”, recorded at Hangar 12 studios in Washington. Thanks to Clawhammer PR, Overdrive Mag had the pleasure of listening to the musical culmination of GreyHawk’s efforts over the years. While the band still have a lot of growing and honing of their sound, they pulled through with a solid and exciting blend of rock ‘n’ roll, thrash and the quintessential elements of 80’s metal, topped off with some searing guitar solos and stunningly powerful vocals.
“Covenant”, the first track on “Ride Out”, starts the album with a quick little synth intro to set the scene for the EP, starting slowly and ending in a cacophonous crescendo of crashing drums and flawless shredding on guitar. “Covenant” serves as a perfect entree to the following main course.
A snare-heavy beat introduces the second track called “The Abdication”, before sending listeners sky-high with a shockingly impressive falsetto that could shatter glass. Unfortunately, the song seems to lose steam after the intro. While the song itself isn’t bad, per se, it still seems to lack any real power beyond Taylor’s vocals and the talented shredding on guitars. Between those high points, the song almost has a generic feel to it.
The title track of the EP gets the ball rolling a bit faster, with a more upbeat pace and guitar riffs that sound a bit more unique. Taylor takes the opportunity to stretch his vocal capabilities, straying between unbelievable falsettos and a deeper and more forceful sound to reflect the intensity of the song. In an interesting turn of events, “Ride Out” takes a brief turn down an avenue of acoustic guitars and operatic vocals, before jumping full-swing into the guts of the song once more.
“Serpent King” sets a relentless pace, thrashing through brutally technical and biting riffs that just bleed a wild and energetic energy. While again Taylor’s impressive falsetto takes the spotlight during the intro. During the verses, Taylor’s vocals are just as fast-paced as the drumbeat, a perfect ploy to galvanise fans into mosh-pits during a live show. The burgeoning energy in this song is something I feel like Greyhawk could capitalise on musically to enable their songs to hit with more force.
“Wisdom of the Wizard” has a drum-fill intro that counts in the bouncing guitar riff that gets heads nodding, with a bluesy rock’n’roll attitude to boot. Old-school 80’s thrash elements peeking though once more to great effect, while Taylor’s falsetto in the chorus is as flawless as ever. The groove in this song is infectious, with the band cohesively combining forces to strike a perfect balance of hard rock and thrash.
Closing the album is the powerful “Circle of Heroes”, wasting no time in jumping into a searing guitar solo to set the intensity of the song early. Wall’s bass is noticeably turned up in this song, lending the rolling, chugging guitar riffs even more strength to help round the song out, while Butler’s furious drumming shows no sign of tiring as he pounds his simplistic but effective beats and fills. “Circle of Heroes” definitely gives me the feeling that Greyhawk saved their best material for last; it was the perfect pick to finish the album on a euphoric crescendo that shows who the band are now, and where they are heading in the future.
While I feel quite happy with the material the band put forward in their very first EP, I feel like they need to work a little harder at finding what sets them apart musically from other bands in their genre. Taylor’s vocals are certainly a stand-outs, as well as the raw talent displayed by Berlin and Mariuzzo on guitar. I feel that with time and experience, Greyhawk could develop to a point where they achieve a truly awesome modern/old-school metal sound that will take them far in their career as a band. Have a listen for yourself and see what you think, purchase a copy through bandcamp here! https://greyhawkmetal.bandcamp.com/album/ride-out