Having gone through controversial change, Gallows are firmly back doing what it is they do best. Now long lost from the sights of a major label, their third record – aptly self-titled – affirms the band’s unity, sense of identity and ultimate awareness of direction.
To many people, Frank Carter very much was Gallows and provided a personal beacon into the emotional depths of each song. To Alexisonfire fans who similarly experienced their beloved group go through further despairing change last year, a sense of positivity and pride for the much already respected Wade MacNeil naturally produced a sense of intrigue and excitement for what this ‘new’ Gallows would offer.
With or without Frank, they had much to live up to with this release anyway. The vast cult success of Orchestra of Wolves lead rapidly towards major label recognition with Grey Britain, and now it almost feels like we have a decider. Just how much better can these guys get?
For anybody who’s experienced Gallows live, there simply is no question. Fierce presence, performance and relentless energy have got them to this level of expectation, and the same can be said for Wade who, with Alexisonfire, similarly tore audiences apart whilst grasping at their hearts and souls.
Gallows opens neatly with a vocal, monotonous female that ruthlessly questions listeners builds the kind of raw energy you get at a live show the moment those lights go out. It’s not long before Wade forcefully intrudes as if diving into the pit. Naturally riff heavy, we’re off and running. We’re getting lost in the crowd with no opportunity to stop and compose ourselves. The production is incredible.
The already-released single ‘Last June’ provides an immense contemporary tribute to the punk roots that fuel these guys, attributed through a simple-yet-ruthless structure, both musically and vocally. A more sudden avenue into off-the-cuff riff timings rather than safer, anthemic techniques would have made this record near perfection. If ‘Vapid Adolescent Blues’ and the following ‘Austere’ aren’t enough to force even the most technically critical-minded into an explosive mess, however, then I don’t know what more Gallows could have done to please their entire fan base demographic within 11 tracks. The concluding break in ‘Depravers’ is also trademark gold to those requiring well-timed aggressive opportunities at shows.
This record ultimately contains the true and familiar sound that everyone fell in love with in the early days of Gallows’ seminal awakening, whilst pushing since-gained capabilities as far as possible. Wade does himself and the rest of the band proud in his new surroundings and can feel very much obliged to keep singing about hate.