Unless you’re a Gallows novice (and if you are, then believe me, you’ve got plenty of catching up to do), then you’ll most likely be aware of the contrast in circumstances between ‘Grey Britain‘ and the band’s debut ‘Orchestra Of Wolves‘ – the latter a record now loved by many, but (at the time of its 2006 release) anticipated by few. Fast forward to 2009, and it seems as if every man and his hard-rockin’ dog has been waiting for ‘Grey Britain‘ with bated breath.
In short: Frank and the boys have not let us down. Whereas ‘Orchestra Of Wolves‘ came across as a violent, savage reaction against all the various mishaps and problems that plagued the band in their early days, the Gallows of 2009 has bigger fish to fry. Make no mistake, they’re still furious, but not overwhelmed; they’ve seen the sheer magnitude of our society’s ills, and they’ve made a behemoth of a record to reflect the state of this not-so-fair isle. ‘Grey Britain’ certainly isn’t any more commercial than their debut, just bigger in terms of sound and subject matter, and it will deservedly reach a larger audience.
Oh, and did I mention that the songs are great? Recent live favourite ‘London Is The Reason‘ kicks things off with the band’s signature abrasive swagger, and from then on, it’s one hell of a ride. ‘Leeches‘ has an awesome Rage Against The Machine style riff in the middle, ‘The Great Forgiver‘ and ‘Crucifucks‘ take aim at religion in spectacular style, and the anti-knife crime anthem ‘Queensberry Rules‘ is as sonically brutal as its subject matter.
However, the most disquieting track on offer here is arguably ‘The Vulture (Act 1)‘, which sees Frank actually singing. He does a decent job of it, but when contrasted to his usual roar, it’s rather like sitting next to a sleepy tiger; knowing that at any moment it could wake up and rip your throat out. And sure enough, the teeth are bared in fine style on ‘…Act 2’.
Ultimately, ‘Grey Britain’ sees Gallows take a bold step forward, whilst retaining all of the facets that made them so good in the first place. This is as ugly and twisted a record as you could hope for from Watford’s finest: check out the next single ‘London is the Reason’ on the link above, or watch the video to the Vulture below and judge for yourself. On tour now.