GALLOWS - Gallows [Review]

Release date: September 10th, 2012
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Label: Venn Records
Rating: 8/10
Reviewer: Tristan French

Following the departure of Gallows’ founding member and former frontman Frank Carter, many were uncertain of the band’s future or the musical direction that would be approached, due to the great commercial success of their sophomore release . 2009’s “Grey Britain” as well as the subsequent anger and Brit-punk attitude brought to the table by Carter. The announcement of former Alexisonfire guitarist , Wade MacNeil , as Carter’s replacement invoked further scepticism from both the media and fans alike. However having recently seen the band live and listened to their third full-length release basically on loop, I can assure you that anybody who doubted MacNeil’s abilities can eat their words. Gallows are just as furious as ever, and they’re displaying that prominently through this new set of songs.

The band instantly kick down the walls and raid your eardrums with album opener “Victim Culture”. Building up to said wall breaking with an escalating spoken intro, the track erupts into a steady but punishing main riff, with twin axemasters Steph Carter and Laurent “Lags” Bernard being able to display their explosively fast speed and accuracy. This is punctuated greatly by the gang vocals that we all know and love, with a continuous chant of “IN US! WE TRUST!” Strongly indicating their intentions from the get go, this maelstrom of a track sets the tone for what promises to be a truly exciting record.

Following this is the almost rock ‘n’ roll overtones of “Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead)”. Steadying the tempo to mid pace, the track is slightly reminiscent of the bands debut release, 2006’s “Orchestra Of Wolves” with slightly muted guitars and pounding bassline providing a punk rock edge to another great number. Lead single “Last June” is up next, and boy is this a rebellious one! Themed around the London riots of 2011, you can just tell that this is supposed to be a cathartic song, condemning the ensuing police brutality. With the tempo kicked into overdrive, and probably one of greatest guitar solos I’ve heard on a Gallows record, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser for upcoming shows.

If anything, this album displays the great variation and versatility of the band. Pace racing tracks “Vapid Adolescent Blues” and “Odessa” continue with the high octane punk induced rush style that we’ve grown to enjoy, displaying a clear purpose to tear up venue floors everywhere with their fiery riffs and pertinent , sing-a-long lyrics. However, Gallows also include some mid-tempo songs to calm us down at certain points during the album. Video single “Outsider Art” provides a steady build, followed by an easy going, toe tapping speed, but not sacrificing the band’s inherent aggression, proving that it is highly possible to remain impactful with a slightly steadier track, with MacNeil’s vocals reaching the forefront of the rawness. Album closers “Cult of Mary” and “Cross Of Lorraine” provide a similar steady atmosphere, before fading out into a static outro.

Now some of you may be wondering, “Where’s the alteration? What’s changed?”. Well the truth is, Gallows haven’t changed a thing about their style. The addition of MacNeil has given the band the chance to continue in very much the same vein that they began. As a rebellious and anrgy hardcore punk band, almost like the Sex Pistols on huge amounts of adrenaline. Despite the great song structure and approach, and the sheer brutality and energy put into it, I do have one criticism. Most songs do not stretch over the 3 minute mark. That’s not to say that it’s a bad thing, as Gallows have clearly set out to hit hard and hit fast, which they have done successfully. It’s just nice to think that maybe some of the songs could have been fleshed out a little bit more, to give fans the meat that they really want.

All criticism aside however, this record just proves that Gallows have no need to re-establish themselves in any way, shape or form, that they have remained faithful to their style and that they show no signs of doing otherwise anytime soon. Overall, I’m rating this newest offering of hardcore punk anthems an 8/10. Although the songs are quite short, its the message and energy behind them that counts, and I think you’ll agree that this record proves that Gallows have plenty of both.

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