“I like to feed on broken hearts,” roared former Gallows vocalist Frank Carter, but it seems that these days, his ex-bandmates like to feed on adversary. Be it Mr Carter’s 2011 departure, or that of his guitarist brother Steph two years later, each obstacle placed in Gallows’ way sees them return stronger, darker – and, dare we say it, better?
Certainly, Desolation Sounds is no mere re-tread of past glories. There’s still plenty of hardcore rock n’ roll vitriol on display in the likes of ‘Leviathan Rot’ and ‘Leather Crown’, but in general, this is a more expansive and ambitious beast of a record than its predecessor. Witness the eerie choral intro of ‘Chains’, which gives way to sludgy, granite-hewn riffs, or the brooding, gothic vibe of ‘Bonfire Season’, with Wade MacNeil’s mournful vocals lending a sinister edge to proceedings. Later, the clipped, almost robotic rhythms of ‘Death Valley Blues’ and the Mastodon-gone-schizophrenic attack of ‘Swan Song’ will have wondering just what else these guys have up their sleeves.
Overall, Desolation Sounds is the result of Gallows being completely true to themselves, and just as it must have been a liberating experience for its creators, it’s deeply compelling for the listener. Oh, and most of these songs will probably sound even better live. Find out for yourself at the following dates:
22nd – Glasgow Cathouse
23rd – Leeds Slam Dunk Festival
24th – Hatfield Slam Dunk Festival
25th – Wolverhampton Slam Dunk Festival
26th – London Garage
27th – Manchester Sound Control
Listen without prejudice, as George Michael once said. After all, it’s tempting to view this record through a prism of ‘What Frank And Jim Did Next’, given their pedigree in Gallows and The Hope Conspiracy, and given Frank’s assertion that he’s “so sick of singing about hate” on first single ‘Bury My Bones’. That track is included here, and although it’s a decent tune with a great riff, there are more rewarding treasures to be found on ‘Anthems’.
Frank is blessed with a kind of cold croon that, when paired with Jim’s chiming, often Johnny Marr-esque guitars, creates a sound that will lodge in your consciousness whether you like it or not. The soaring choruses of ‘Handsome Devil’s Club’, ‘Riot Song’ and ‘The Hits’ will sound absolutely epic live, and they even manage to pull off a decent ballad in ‘Heavy Kind Of Chains’.
That’s not to say that all the duo’s rough edges have been smoothed over, though. Opening track ‘She’ rides in on a spiky riff reminiscent of early Manic Street Preachers, whilst ‘Scared To Death’ sees Frank howling away like in the days of old. “All’s fair in love and war/And I’m a soldier in both” he asserts, over a barrage of jagged power chords from Jim, to exhilarating effect.
Ultimately, ‘Anthems’ is an album brimming with addictive, unadulterated rock n’ roll songs and no little confidence. Only time will tell if that’s enough to gain Pure Love the same kind of rabidly devoted fanbase that the duo’s previous bands enjoy, but there’s definitely enough quality here to merit them being taken seriously as a band in their own right.
w/ Sharks, Scholars
The Boileroom, Guildford
The tiny Boileroom is packed tonight, not just with people but with a heavy sense of curiosity and excitement. First up are Scholars, although relatively unknown they manage to gain the interest of the whole room. Tracks such as ‘Blinda Data‘ really show this bands capability and with an impressive live show, make a note of Scholars as a potential buzz band for 2013.
Sharks have a strong fan base in the venue tonight, it appears every other person is wearing one of their shirts. So you’d think they would captivate the crowd, however they make little impact. ‘Arcane Effigies‘ creates a small sing along, but they don’t have half the presence and movement of Scholars. Unfortunately the old-school punk look and gimmicks don’t pay off, this is a case of image over substance.
There is a genuine sense of excitement as Frank Carter, Jim Carroll and band take to the stage. They don’t stay there long. Just after one track Frank parts the crowd and takes the show into the pit. He declares ‘Put your phones away, stop posting photos on instagram looking like your having fun, lets have some real fucking fun. Stop making digital memories, lets make some real ones,’ and instantly the Pure Love party starts.
Despite their full-length still to be released the majority of the crowd somehow seem to the know every track word for word. Song after song is a mass of dancing bodies with Frank screaming into faces of the audience and Jim performing on the shoulders of the rest. Frank crowd surfing over to the bar for a beer whilst the drum kit moves from the stage into the pit for ‘Riot’ seems perfectly natural in this chaotic bliss.
Carter’s initial speech of ‘Guildford you are about to have the best 45 minutes of your entire life,’ seemed a bit presumptuous to start with, annoyingly arrogant even. But hats off to him, he was right. This has to be one of the greatest shows to have ever hit this sweat box venue, and arguably one of the best shows of the year. With every single punter leaving the venue with a grin from ear to ear it’s clear Pure Love are more than just a little project, this band could really achieve something.
So, your bicycle has been in the repair shop, getting a new front wheel fitted (the old one unexpectedly broke loose after six-odd years of loyal service). You’re excited, but slightly nervous, mainly because it’s an awesome bicycle, and you’re hoping that it’ll give you as much joy with the new wheel as it did with the old one. The guys at the shop say that this new wheel is pretty impressive, though, so you’re waiting with bated breath.
You’ve probably figured out the analogy by now. Gallows are back with album number three; their first with former Alexisonfire guitarist Wade MacNeil at the helm, and probably as good a riposte to their critics and doubters as we could have hoped for.
Make no mistake, this is a Gallows record through and through. From the moment ‘Victim Culture’ kicks in after a sinister spoken-word intro, those signature raw rock n’ roll riffs, squalling guitar solos and raucous gang vocals are all present in abundance, and sounding more muscular than ever. Frank Carter left large shoes to fill, but MacNeil proves himself more than capable; a hardcore screamer among the best of them, but able to hold a tune when it’s called for (most notably on the intro of the gloriously anthemic ‘Outsider Art’, which is sure to incite mayhem live).
None of this would matter much if the songs were substandard, but among the eleven tracks on offer here are some of Gallows’ best songs to date. ‘Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead)’ matches anything from ‘Grey Britain’ or ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ in ferocity alone; a stinging indictment of the ‘don’t speak ill of the dead’ mentality. ‘Depraves’ surfs in on a jagged Laurent Barnard riff before exploding into a carpe diem chorus that will have you howling along with conviction. Elsewhere, ‘Vapid Adolescent Blues’ and ‘Cult Of Mary’ are hardcore belters shot through with shards of melody, seething and writhing exactly as they should.
Long viewed as plucky underdogs who have survived (and prospered) through no little determination, it seems that the adversity of Carter’s departure has resulted in Gallows returning angrier and hungrier than ever. Mark my words: this bicycle has what it takes to go the distance.
They’ll be playing the Lock-Up Stage at this year’s Reading/Leeds festivals, before embarking on a full UK tour in October.
Ex Gallows singer Frank Carter has finally released the first offering from his new musical project Pure Love this week. Switching from raging hardcore to mainstream 80’s rock, this new song written with ex Hope Conspiracy member Jim Carroll has divided the Gallows fanbase like a marmite bomb and has more in common sound wise with Manic Street Preachers, Journey and The Darkness than previous mentors Black Flag, surprising many.
Watch the video of first single ‘Bury My Bones’ and if you like what you hear get a free download of the single here in exchange for some details.
The band have posted up a 37 second track that you can download for free right now called True Colours, the very first offering of new music recorded with former Alexisonfire vocalist Wade MacNeil fronting the band.
Head over to www.gallows.co.uk to pick it up and expect raging hardcore. Watch this explosive video below!
Gallows have announced that Wade MacNeil is their new singer. The frontman who is known for his screaming hardcore in Alexisonfire and Black Lungs replaces Frank Carter on the mic and has already brought a much more hardcore sound to the band. We have heard a couple of the new tracks here so far and all of them are raging hardcore with a much heavier feel to them.
Get tickets to their London show that has just been announced on December 13th at XOYO before they are gone, they are released this Friday.
Gallows are an excellent live band in any scenario. However, if you’re going to pick any setting to see them in, the small ones are where they thrive. Notting Hill Arts Club didn’t know what had hit it as Gallows unleashed their unique punk carnage for their management company Raw Power’s second monthly club night. Reeling off masterful versions of tracks from Orchestra of Wolves and Grey Britain, Gallows became one with the crowd with Frank and Steph even popping round the corner of the venue to instigate a sort of circle pit which inevitably involved a flurry of bodies colliding.
It was hot and sweaty. The band were in jovial spirits. And the amassed crowd lapped it up. The venue was so full that there was a stack of people peering round from the other part of the room with barely a few of Frank’s ginger noggin. A rendition of London Is The Reason, re-named Raw Power Is The Reason and traditional closer Orchestra of Wolves had everyone shouting along. A typically rowdy Gallows set in just the sort of place this band are made to command. It’s just as well this band aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. More please.