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It makes perfect sense that the third album by Pitchblende is named after the man responsible for Dungeons and Dragons. The members of Pitchblende all look like they were dedicated dungeonmasters before trading in their lead figurines for loud amps. GYGAX! (Headhunter Records) is the quartet’s most focused record to date, which comes as a surprise since the band’s four members live in three different states; guitarist Justin Chearno and bassist Scott DeSimon live in New York City, guitarist Treiops Treyfid in Maryland, and drummer Pat Gough in Virginia. Most of the music was worked out before Chearno’s move to Gotham, however, and prior to recording the album he returned for a jampacked week of practice. “We were more prepared for this album than for the other albums,” explains Treyfid.

Not only does GYGAX! feature Pitchblende’s strongest songs while still highlighting the group’s penchant for fractured guitar textures and off-balance arrangements, it is also better produced than the band’s first two efforts. In addition to a tracking error on Au Jus that resulted that disc’s song order not matching its tray card, the ill-fated second record sounded lifeless. “I was unsatisfied with it,” admits Treyfid. Production was not a problem with the new album. GYGAX! was recorded at WGNS with Geoff Turner and Charles Bennington, who “went the extra mile to help us on the project,” says Treyfid. “Charles had some really good ideas and some really inspired moments. He was almost like part of the band when we were recording it.”

Treyfid says the band is officially on hiatus and that “there’s not going to be any centralized band again.” Any tour plans depend on how well the album is received. So if the record doesn’t do well, is Pitchblende packing it in? “I like playing and all,” Treyfid responds, “but there’s a time when it becomes futile. If it becomes futile, I will definitely quit.”

—Christopher Porter