Gallows – Gallows (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
GALLOWS are musical marmite. You’ll either love them or loathe them. Sadly, we fall into the latter category.
A furious punk rock outfit that takes the genre to its purest, most hate-filled form, the band exists to write songs that are reactionary, angry and fiercely incendiary.
Lyrics are shouted, riffs are spewed out, drums pound away relentlessly. There are subtle variations from song to song but only to those who have the stamina, or anger, to listen.
And anyone who had anticipated a re-invention following the departure of former lead singer Frank Carter, now with Pure Love, had best think again. Incoming singer Wade MacNeil, formerly of Canadian hardcore outfit Alexisonfire, slides into the fray to lend his own distinct vocals to the Gallows’ ethos.
Hence, while the vocals may sound different, the instrumentals stay true to what helped Gallows garner the punk following they have in the first place.
MacNeil has contributed to the song-writing process, though, and in Last June enables the band to comment [angrily] upon the treatment that G20 protesters received in Toronto in June 2010, thereby offering them global appeal.
But while lyrically some of what they have to say may be astute and designed to provoke debate, the delivery is just plain awful.
Punk at its best offers coherent vocals and an ability to marry fury with melody to give songs the best chance possible to be heard.
Gallows just bash people over the head relentlessly, wailing lyrics that have to be strained to be heard. There is no let up. It’s an assault.
Song titles hint at themes (from Victim Culture to Vapid Adolescent Blues to Depravers) but they also indicate that this is far from a laugh riot.
I longed for one song to break the format. Sadly, there wasn’t one… not a single track to recommend.
When MacNeil sings “you can never understand what it took for me to be a man” over final song, Cross of Lorraine, I found myself failing to understand what it’s taken for Gallows to become such a successful band. To me, there is nothing to recommend about them.