By Bob Nalbandian

CD Reviews November 2007

Dweller On The Threshold

Now this is a brilliant classic rock record! Formed in the nineties, it may seem wrong calling the Tribe Of Gypsies "classic rock" but the fact is this album is chockfull of '70s induced, soulful hard rock that is rarely found in recent releases from classic rock bands today. The Gypsies are the brainchild of guitarist/producer extraordinaire Roy Z. As of this writing I don't believe this CD has an American release, which again goes to prove how unwilling the major US labels are in signing brilliant artists that don't follow today's fashion and trends. Dweller On The Threshold is, believe it or not, the Tribe's fifth album release (their self-titled debut was released back in '96) and it carries on their cultural brand of heartfelt, thought-provoking hard rock music. Following a short intro the disc explodes into "Ride On." Led by a striking riff overlapped with powerful B-3 organ and congas galore, the Santana influence is certainly prevalent but the hard-driving rhythms and metallic guitar overtones proves this band has their own distinct identity. What I find so impressive with this song (and several songs off this CD) is the unbelievably intense build-up at the end of the tune that instantly compels the listener into an all-out air-drum/guitar frenzy. "Desolate Chile" follows in similar fashion expelling rock-hard rhythms and catchy lyrical melodies. New vocalist Chas West (ex-Bonham, 3-Legged Dogg) has an incredibly soulful voice but he can also belt it out with pure metallic power when needed (which he executes tastefully without over-doing it like so many of today's vocalists). The band shows their true musical diversity on the tracks that follow: "Stop Bombing Each Other!" is a soulful, funk-fueled anthem showing traces of The Band of Gypsies (paralleling the vocal melodies of Buddy Miles on "Machine Gun") with a rhythm riff not unlike Sly & The Family Stone's "Thank You...." The tracks "Halo" and "After The Summer" are semi-acoustic numbers that are potential AOR radio hits with the latter delivering a masterful Spanish guitar performance from Roy Z while the songs "Go Your Own Way," the sexy groove-ridden "Never Will Be Mine" and the brilliant closer "Hands To Eternity" again display strong classic rock influence ranging from early Santana and Thin Lizzy to (Peter Green era) Fleetwood Mac. Even the track "Zoot Suit Mardi Gras" takes the listener on a journey back to the '70s showing strong influences from the band War but it's the instrumental track "Flying Tigers, Crazy Dragons" and the breath-taking "La Hora" where the band really have the chance to let loose and show off their musical expertise. Roy Z's guitar solo in "La Hora" is flat-out phenomenal. The song builds into an intense musical orgy of blistering guitar solos and pulverizing drum-work atop invigorating B-3 organ and a mad-array of conga-fury. And the band even do a surprisingly unique rendition of Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love." The musicianship throughout this CD is unsurpassed and the songwriting is truly notable. Tribe Of Gypsies is the real deal, a must have CD for any fan of classic hard rock music.

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