“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.
w/ Feed The Rhino, Brotherhood of the Lake
London Camden Underworld
19th October 2012
Brotherhood Of The Lake’s recent ‘Desperation Is The English Way Vol. 1’ debut is a dark-hearted, brooding beast indeed – but whatever fuels their rage, they’re not shy to vent it live. The likes of ‘You’ll Never Dream’ are shot through with the kind of grit and determination that saw Andy Dufresne through to the end of that 500-yard sewage tunnel in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, and though their precise, Helmet-esque metallic attack falls on all too few ears, it’s a fine start to an evening that can only get louder and ever more chaotic.
A case in point: Feed The Rhino, who provide a lesson in how to utterly dominate a stage. The guitarists lurch around like a hardcore tag-team, whilst Lee Tobin is a larger than life frontman, less likely to exhort the crowd to greater efforts than to jump in and show them how it’s done. Oh, and they sound amazing – punishingly heavy, yet also anthemic, and with some killer grooves to boot. The closing ‘The Butcher’ heralds a wall of death worthy of a headline act, and amidst the ruckus, you can’t help but wonder if you’re witnessing the start of something big for Feed The Rhino.
All that remains is for Gallows to take any lingering ‘new guy on vocals’ doubts and smash them into dust before our eyes. Back in their natural environment – with no barriers getting in the way – that glorious sense of chaos is there from the off, with guitarist Lags and bassist Stu frequently to be seen rocking out in (or on top of) the maelstrom of a pit, and a steady stream of stagedivers eager to help out on backing vocals.
The new self-titled record is rightfully given a good airing, with ‘Depravers’, ‘Outsider Art’ and ‘Everybody Loves You…’ among the best things this band have ever done. Throughout, Wade cuts an imposing figure; having not only brought his own brand of fury to the Gallows table, but also – like the audience – taking his band’s older songs of discontent and doomed romance in as his own, and then blasting them out again with complete conviction.
‘Abandon Ship’? Tonight, they damn well torch the fucker, and make sushi out of the shark’s belly into the bargain. Gallows 2012, then – still as visceral as ever and, more importantly, still a band to believe in.
AUGUST BURNS RED
w/Devil Wears Prada
18 – NOTTINGHAM Rock City, 19 – GLASGOW Garage, 20 – WOLVERHAMPTON Wulfrun Hall, 21 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 22 – BRISTOL Academy, 23 – LONDON Electric Ballroom
For metalcore fans, this is quite clearly a phenomenal tour, not just for October, but for the whole year. Expect plenty of breakdowns, brutal mosh pits and many a sub-drop. Listen to ‘Meddler’ by August Burns Red and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
EVERY TIME I DIE
w/Stray From The Path, Last Witness
24 – SOUTHAMPTON Brook, 25 – BRISTOL Fleece, 26 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 27 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 28 – CARDIFF Solus, 29 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 30 – WOLVERHAMPTON Slade Rooms, 31 – MANCHESTER Academy II
Band after band said that Every Time I Die nailed it nightly on the US Warped Tour, and now over on our shores we are expecting exactly the same amount of carnage. With ETID being joined by Stray From The Path (who you might have caught with Architects earlier this year) and homegrown talent Last Witness this is a very healthy looking line up.
w/Feed The Rhino
03 – BRIGHTON Haunt, 04 – EXETER Cavern, 05 – BRISTOL The Fleece, 06 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NEWCASTLE Academy 2, 09 – GLASGOW King Tut’s, 11 – NOTTINGHAM – Rock City Basement, 12 – SHEFFIELD Corporation, 13 – STOKE Sugarmill, 14 – WREXHAM Central Station, 15 – LEEDS Cockpit, 16 – PETERBOROUGH Club Revolution, 17 – BIRMINGHAM Academy 2, 19 – LONDON Underworld
Their latest release received critical acclaim across the board, and now with intense front man Wade Macneil at the helm and Feed The Rhino as support, this isn’t just a must see show but a ‘you’d-be-really-fucking-stupid-not-to-go’ kind of show.
17 – DERBY Victoria Inn, 18 – GLASGOW Ivory Blacks, 19 – MANCHESTER Star & Garter, 20 – LIVERPOOL Format, 22 – LONDON Upstairs at the Garage, 23 – SOUTHAMPTON Cellar,24 – PLYMOUTH White Rabbit, 26 – PETERBOROUGH Met Lounge
We’ve noted Hildamay as ones to watch for some time now, and with a full UK tour to support their forthcoming album, hopefully this will be their time to shine. With Landscapes also on the bill this will be an awesome showcasing event for British talent as hardcore doesn’t get much more emotional and bleak than the way Landscapes go about it.
NEVER SAY DIE 2012 TOUR!
w/ We Came As Romans, BlessTheFall, Stick To Your Guns, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, At The Skylines, The Browning, At Dawn We Rage
15 – UK Birmingham, O2 Academy 2, 17 – UK Manchester, Club Academy, 18 – UK London, The Electric Ballroom
Never Say Die Tours are always great but this year it features two of our favorite artists, Stick To Your Guns and Obey The Brave. Stick To Your Guns put on a hard hitting yet optimistic live show and Obey The Brave are sure to slay with their brutally heavy riffs.
11 – BUCKS Uni SU
If you are a regular reader of Crossfire you’ll know that we rate Proxies very highly indeed. Catch them at their live show to find out what all the fuss is about.
OF MICE & MEN
w/ Memphis May Fire, Secrets
08 – NORWICH Waterfront, 10 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 11 – GLASGOW Garage, 12 – MANCHESTER Moho Live, 13 – BIRMINGHAM Asylum, 14 – LEEDS Cockpit
Of Mice & Men are the buzz band of metalcore right now. Not only due to their ridiculously strong re-release of ‘The Flood’ which featured 4 astounding bonus tracks, but due to the fact that Austin Carlile and his band mates seem to fully engage with their fans.
After releasing their second (and awesome) album, ‘Freaks Like Us’ earlier this year, check out Straight Lines as they embark on an expansive UK tour.
THE DANGEROUS SUMMER
01 – EXETER Pheonix, 02 – SOUTHAMPTON Mo’Club, 03 – BRISTOL Trinity, 04 – NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms, 05 – GLASGOW Garage, 07 – MANCHESTER Club Academy, 08 – NORWICH Arts Centre, 09 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy 2, 10 – LEEDS Cockpit, 11 – LONDON Electric Ballroom, 12 – KINGSTON Fighting Cocks
After releasing one of the albums of 2011 in ‘War Paint’, The Dangerous Summer have become firm favorites at Crossfire HQ. This October they are hitting the road with another of our loves, Don Broco.
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
15 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 17 – LONDON O2 Brixton Academy, 18 – MANCHESTER O2 Apollo, 19 – GLASGOW O2 Academy, 20 – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy
It appears everyone has a place for The Gaslight Anthem in their hearts, and rightly so. After a releasing another timeless album ‘Handwritten’ and performing a euphoric set at Reading & Leeds, The Gaslight Anthem are ready to take full control of the UK.
w/ As I Lay Dying
15 – MANCHESTER Ritz, 16 – GLASGOW O2 ABC, 17 – BIRMINGHAM HMV Institute, 19 – BRISTOL O2 Academy, 20 – NORWICH UEA, 21 – LONDON Shepherds Bush Empire
A titan of modern metal, Trivium, joined by one of the godfathers of metalcore, As I Lay Dying, in arguably intimately sized venues… this is going to be amazing.
On Sunday 9th September Gallows played the tiny Fighting Cocks venue in Kingston to celebrate the launch of their third and self-titled studio album. Of course the show was completely sold out and a great success. If you missed out on the gig we’ve got a treat for you. Whack on ‘Last June’ (embedded below) and absorb into up and coming photographer Joe Brady‘s photo gallery and it’s like you’re almost there. In the words of Joe, “Gallows tore the Fighting Cocks a new one.” Enjoy.
WATCH VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM THIS ELECTRIC SHOW COURTESY OF JAMES SHERRY’S MAN CAM
Arguably 2012 was Reading & Leeds strongest line up of recent years. Not only were did the legendary The Cure take to the main stage, there was a whole variety of acts that put in stellar performances from all sorts of different genres. We’ve picked our top ten from the weekend, some punk bands, some new, some old and one very pop. Check it out below:
Enter Shikari and Reading & Leeds go hand in hand. Their performance on the main stage saw punters running over from the dance stage -drawn in by dubstep mix ups- to mosh along with older ‘Take To The Skies’ fans. Tracks from ‘A Flash of Colour’ go down a treat as does ‘Juggernaughts’ which is now somewhat of a Reading classic, again seeing a stupid amounts of crowd surfing. One day soon these humble lads will headline this great stage. Perfection.
Random Hand’s high tempo mix of metal, punk and ska is uplifting. The sheer energy pouring from the band on stage certainly kicked things off in the Lock Up tent after a slow start to the day. Funnily enough, the most impressive part of the whole performance has to be the sheer capacity of Robin Leitch’s lungs! His effortless alternations between trombone, screamed vocals and dancing like a lunatic was a joy to behold.
Headlining the BBC Introducing stage was Leeds’ most unassuming rock behemoths Hawk Eyes. Playing a fast and furious set, primarily of tracks from this year’s ‘Ideas’, Hawk Eyes managed to make the outdoor stage feel like a sweaty basement, with the standard troupe of lanky lads starting a (admittedly rather tame) mosh pit. Having previously played the stage under their previous incarnation, let’s pray this signals the last time the boys are on one of the smaller stages at Reading and Leeds.
When there are an abundance of acts are taking themselves too seriously on stage and swanning around the guest area like they are gods, you need a bit of Ceremony to remind you what punk is all about. Having a fucking good time. And this is exactly what Ceremony do. Vocalist Ross Farrar just goes nuts, spinning around with his t-shirt over his head and microphone dangling around his neck, musically they aren’t that tight, but really no one cares. That’s not what this set is about, it’s just a great laugh.
AT THE DRIVE-IN
Having declared their break-up in 2001 after the release of their seminal album ‘Relationship of Command’, the announcement of reunion dates were a dream come true for many a fan. With mixed reviews emerging from performances at Coachella, it was difficult to know what to expect from their headline set on the BBC Radio 1/NME stage. Opening with the explosive ‘Arcarsenal’, it was hard for a smile not to appear on the face of anyone who holds a special place in their heart for the band.
Given that this was the first time that the majority of the audience got to see the band in the flesh, it was especially pleasing to hear tracks played across their whole back-catalogue of releases, with singer Cedric Bixlar-Zavalar trying his best to recreate those explosive sets from over a decade ago.
The same joy didn’t extend to all members – it was hard not feel disheartened at the sight of Omar motionlessly standing facing his amp for the majority of the set, looking as though he’d rather be elsewhere. This wasn’t the At The Drive-In that left us all those years ago, and perhaps it is too much to expect that.
The band’s first Reading Festival sans-Frank went off without a hitch in true, unadulterated Gallows fashion. Vivacious circle pits, crowd surfing and an onslaught of punk rock from the stage that never let up, this is a band that is every bit as good, if not better, as version 2.0. The crowd was totally sold by the end of the set. Interestingly it was the band’s new tracks that came across best, leaving everyone wanting more fresh material ASAP.
THE BOUNCING SOULS
Who doesn’t love the Bouncing Souls? Their inspiring punk appeals across the board in the Lock Up tent. Old classics such as ‘Sing Along Forever’ get the dedicated fans jumping whilst newer , softer and more melodic material like ‘Coin Toss Girl’ is a hit with members of the crowd previously unaware of the band. Their set is a resounding success.
The compacted punters inside and swarms of fans outside the Festival Republic Tent show that although fairly new on the radar, Alt-J are already a firm festival favourite. Despite their annoying- hipster-type fan base, Alt-J’s unique and slightly obscure brand of indie is certainly something to take note of with hit single ‘Breezeblocks’ becoming one of the anthems of the weekend.
You may be thinking this is a bit of a bizarre choice if you are familiar with Crossfire’s usual content, but the thing is we can still recognize a good pop artist when we see one! Mixing electronica, hip hop and a healthy dose of mainstream pop, Santigold has a collection of great songs including ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Creator’. Santigold gets the festival party vibe going.
As we caught these local guys in their own territory of Reading, they might have had a slight home advantage. But it appears that it is Attention Thieves’s energy thats key to drawing in a huge crowd around the tiny BBC introducing stage. Attention Thieves have been gaining a lot of attention from the press lately and it seems it’s well deserved as their radio-friendly Rise Against inspired punk rock goes down a treat.
Words: Emma Wallace except Gallows (Sarah Maynard), At The Drive-In, Hawk Eyes (Joe Parry)
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.
Gallows have burst back into the consciousness of the punk scene with the announcement of a new album, tour and FREE single download ‘Last June’ available via www.gallows.co.uk
The bands next full length release will hit the shelves in September, the 12 track record will be the bands first since the departure of Frank Carter and the arrival of former Alexisonfire man Wade MacNeil as vocalist. The album will be self-titled with the following track listing:
‘Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead)’
‘Vapid Adolescent Blues’
‘Cult Of Mary’
‘Cross Of Lorraine’
In support of the release Gallows will be hitting the road and touring across the UK with the opener taking place at Brighton’s Haunt and the tour closing at Camden’s Underworld. Support will come from Feed The Rhino and Brotherhood of the Lake
03 BRIGHTON Haunt
04 EXETER Cavern
05 BRISTOL Fleece
06 MANCHESTER Club Academy
08 NEWCASTLE O2 Academy 2
09 GLASGOW King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
11 NOTTINGHAM Rock City Basement
12 SHEFFIELD Corporation
13 STOKE Sugarmill
14 WREXHAM Central Station
15 LEEDS Cockpit
16 PETERBOROUGH Club Revolution
17 BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy 2
19 LONDON Underworld
The Groezrock festival in Belguim entertained us this weekend with a bunch of great performances and a multitude of beers and good times. Gallows were there amongst a plethora of other great bands and covered Minor Threat’s Seeing Red song. Watch some video of that here and look out for a full report from this weekend’s fun once the hangovers clear in here.
If you missed our preview covering the 15 bands to look out for then catch up with those here.