Since hitting the scene in 2006 with ground breaking debut 'Orchestra Of Wolves', Gallows have been arguably the UK's finest punk/hardcore band over the last decade. 2012's self-titled release remained a solid metallic hardcore record that wasn't slowed down by dynamic frontman Frank Carter being replaced by Alexisonfire vocalist/guitarist Wade MacNeil; they didn't lose any of their grit, ferocity or skill for writing a memorable song. So where does that leave latest release 'Desolation Sounds'?
'Mystic Death' kicks off the record with menacing riffs that feel like Slayer in their slower moments, but quickly merges with speedy punky riffs to establish that this is definitely still Gallows. It's a strong track to start the album with, but Gallows' signature crunch is abandoned with the title track, faint post-punk vocals replacing the usual shouting. This attempt at something different feels like there's a huge piece missing. It's dim, with little intensity or grip.
Luckily, the album does picks up with 'Leviathan Rot', the female spoken word vocals accompanied by relentless palm-muted chugging and jumpy, angular stomps while still leaving room for a swagger filled bass bridge. This is Gallows being unpredictable and pulling out all stops to make a heavy banger. 'Chains' has a ghostly start with angelic but moody vocals from Helena of Dios Mio, before Gallows at their loudest comes crashing in. It's a straight forward song, but there's such a level of intensity that it feels like so much more than what it is. Wade's vocals are harrowing as he pleads there not to be another 'violent summer' and spits 'sham rock 'n' roll' with disgust. Sadly, though, 'Desolation Sounds' rarely hits this level of quality again.
Continue reading: Gallows - Desolation Sounds Album Review