For the most part, the state of music - underground or major label - is stale and nothing more than a regurgitation of what has been previously done. But there are those rare gems, those bands that do something that is just a little bit different, that exist and make you excited about music. It's been quite a while since I've heard a band of said caliber - Glassjaw's release of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence being the last time. This isn't to say that there is a lacking of great bands. On the contrary, there are plenty of outstanding bands writing and performing in a wide variety of genres across the globe. However, there has been a lacking of THAT band, the one that does something just a bit different to step out from the shadows of all the others. Gallows is that kind of band.
Orchestra of Wolves is the Watford-based band's debut full-length. Over the course of the twelve tracks, the band unveils a unique take on dissonant hardcore punk. And while at its core it is hardcore music, there is just enough experimentation and originally permeating from the band's sound to make them stand out from the thousands and thousands of other hardcore bands.
"Kill the Rhythm" starts things off on Orchestra of Wolves and we are treated to two-and-a-half minutes of gritty metallic hardcore. Not only is the music of the song filled with intensity, but the lyrics are also great; together they no doubt make the song an outstanding opening song when they play out. "Come Friendly Bombs" follows and adds further fuel to the aggressiveness of the music found on the opening track. The music delves into a more chaotic sound, much like Converge's You Fail Me. Lyrically the song sees vocalist Frank Carter turning inward sounding off on the day-to-day shit he deals with. The frustration of daily life is evoked perfectly by fusion of the lyrics and the song's music.
Everything that I love about Gallows comes together on "Abandon Ship," which happens to be the band's debut single. Unfortunately, I doubt this song will ever make it to mainstream radio - MTV2 and Fuse maybe, but that's about all. Musically the song is perfection of gnarling music and metaphorical lyrics, which leave the listener with a deep appreciation of the emotional distress of Carter's words.
Gallows really demonstrate their experimentation with the track "In the Belly of a Shark;" it is the first song on which the use of keyboards makes their presence felt. Even with the introduction of a keyboard, the music is still very much similar to the previous songs. The guitars on this song stood out especially, Laurent Barnard's guitar solo mid-way through was spot on. Not to mention the galloping riffs and aggressive breakdown that conclude the song.
Gallows again experiment with the use of keyboards on "Rolling with the Punches." The song comes off as the bastard child of Black Flag and The Murder City Devils. Further experimentation comes as the song concludes with mellow keyboards and Carter's crooning vocals as opposed to abrasive screams. And while the more subdued songs are good, Gallows are best when they are pissed off and full of rage, as evident by the remaining tracks of Orchestra of Wolves.
While you listen to Gallows steamroll through track after track, it is imperative that you bear witness to the Carter's lyrical content. While his bandmates deliver cut after cut of uncompromising hardcore, Carter delves into his personal psyche. "Six Years" has Carter commenting on a tumultuous time in his family life. "Stay Cold" delivers a threatening lyrical attack on individuals that stole directly from the band. On "I Promise This Won't Hurt" Carter divulges on the pain of horrendous mouth surgeries that he has had to endure. And on the title-track Carter goes off on the act of hooking up:
My name is Casanova / I'm nothing but a beast / Baby the way you're shaking those hips / Has got me ready for a fucking feast / This song is going out to the girls / I want to feel your body close against mine / Why waste our time with conversation / When we can fuck for the rest of our lives. / The hardest thing you'll ever learn / Is just to love and be loved in return.
Normally, this would be the part where I strongly urge you to purchase a copy of Gallows' album. But unfortunately the album is out of print. Worry not! As I'm sure many of you are already aware, Orchestra of Wolves will see a re-release in the U.K. and a proper release in the U.S. in the coming months. The album will contain a number of bonus tracks, including a cover of Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown." So hold onto that hard earned cash for a few more months and pick up a copy of Orchestra of Wolves when it hits shelves once again. And finally, find a way to catch Gallows at Warped Tour this summer. They're one of maybe two acts actually worth seeing on the bill, but alone are worth the price of admission.
9.5 / 10
After landing a million-pound record deal with Warner Bros., a lot of the punks were expecting Gallows' follow-up to Orchestra of Wolves to go in a "poppier" direction so it ...
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.