Review: Gypsy Chief Goliath & End Of Age ‘Turned To Stone Chapter 7’

Those among you with eagle eyes, far too much time to spare, and an unhealthy memory for the completely unimportant might have noticed that I haven’t been writing nearly as many reviews for The Shaman as I used to. The reasons for my current lack of time to properly listen to music are thoroughly mundane, but it’s had the unexpected consequence that almost all the new music I’ve been exposed to recently has been through Ripple Music’s Turned To Stone series.

Gypsy Chief Goliath & End Of Age 'Turned To Stone Chapter 7'

You’re probably aware of this already, but to recap: Turned To Stone is the labels current series of vinyl-only split LPs and kicked off back in early 2020 (to revisit those halcyon, pre-plague days see here). I’m going to guess that it was the world going to hell in a handbasket that delayed the rest of the series – Chapter 2 came out in the summer of 2020 and Chapter 3 was the only entry in the series for the whole of 2021. However, since spring of last year Ripple Music seems to have got things back on track and there have been regular new entries to the series every few months to keep me busy.

The last few releases have seen the label showcase bands from across the globe, but for Chapter 7, they head back to North America for five tunes apiece from Ontario’s Gypsy Chief Goliath and Pennsylvania’s End Of Age. I’m going to cut to the chase here: for me, this is the best Turned To Stone record since Chapter 2. The press blurb made me think this was going to forty minutes of stoner rock by numbers, but both bands are much more interesting than that and put their own twist on the heavy rock we all know and love to deliver a diverse, atmospheric and thoroughly awesome split.

First up is Gypsy Chief Goliath, featuring five stalwarts from the Canadian scene, most notably (as in the only one that I’m vaguely familiar with) AL from The Mighty Nimbus. The press release promises ‘hard rock, heavy metal, and blues all rolled into one masterful delivery’, which isn’t exactly wrong but omits to mention the healthy dose of prog that propels Gypsy Chief Goliath’s side in all sorts of interesting directions.

The diversity I mentioned above is on display straight away. Gypsy Chief Goliath kick things off with Loup Garou, ninety seconds of breezy ‘70s instrumental rock before launching into Demons Suffer, which feels like the centrepiece of their EP. They cover a ton of ground in six-and-a-half minutes, with jazzy chords and clean vocals bringing a decidedly prog flavour, before a chorus section that’s significantly heavier and makes me worry about the long-term health of the singer’s vocal cords. The band explores different textures throughout, until the final ninety seconds when they put the pedal to the metal and rip through a thoroughly satisfying outro that brings the promised hard rock and heavy metal.

[both bands] put their own twist on the heavy rock we all know and love to deliver a diverse, atmospheric and thoroughly awesome split…

High Priest is another tune that’s dripping with ‘70s prog, mixing galloping triplets with summery chords. It’s an intriguing track that manages to be mellow and dream-like, despite being distinctly angular in places and underpinned by crunchy guitars throughout. I’m sure we all love some dreamy prog, but sometimes you just want the heavy. Gypsy Chief Goliath clearly had a similar thought with Black Dwarf and it’s eight-five seconds of heavy fuzz riffing. The side ends with Shadows Of A Solar Love, which focuses more on the riffs and choruses than earlier tunes but still contains enough deft touches to be interesting as well as rocking

End Of Age are a two-piece and this, as far as I can tell, is their debut release. I’m not personally a fan of two-piece bands (and always feel the need to point this out whenever I review one), but End Of Age make judicious use of multi-tracking so they sound as though they have at least three members across their side of the record. Ripple Music’s press release describes End Of Age as ‘70s-infused proto-metal’, but again I’m not sure that really chimes with what I’m hearing. There’s nothing particularly retro sounding about End Of Age and, while they add a healthy dose of melody to their heaviness, it makes me think of early ‘00s post-hardcore as much as ‘70s rock. In fact, at various points they really remind me of Palace In Thunderland, who fittingly enough featured on the last instalment of Ripple Music’s Second Coming Of Heavy series.

Opener Want To Go is a brilliant way to start the End Of Age side, with a pounding up-tempo groove and a sweet chorus. The guitars are a nice mix of fuzzy crunchy rhythm guitar with some tasteful harmonies over the top. While it’s built from a host of familiar ingredients, End Of Age make it sound fresh and really stamp their own personality on the tune. Yelling Tree is next up and this is where my comparison to Palace In Thunderland really comes in; an excellent combination of classic ‘70s rock and more modern melodic punky goodness.

Cat’s Blood is another sweet tune that falls into a similar pattern before we get to instrumental Dormant Hibernation, which for me is probably the highlight of the End Of Age side. From about the halfway mark, the standard riffing gives way to some delicate acoustic strings and then a big fuzzy bass riff. It gradually builds from there, adding layers of guitar texture in a quite brilliant way. Closer Aestivation takes things in an unexpected direction mixing acoustic guitar, electronic washes and ethereal vocals for an intriguing conclusion. It’s a really atmospheric track, by turns unsettling and soothing and shows off what an accomplished band End Of Age are.

And that’s you’re lot. Both sides left me wanting to hear more of each band and I’d strongly recommend you check this one out.

Label: Ripple Music
Gypsy Chief Goliath: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
End Of Age: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Liam Blanc