Thursday, July 2, 2009

Gallows – Grey Britain

This is probably the best hardcore punk album released in the past few years and this band will certainly be going somewhere. Every time that I listen to this album, I like it more and its highly motivational sound makes it great to listen to when you want to get pumped up. I think it is much better than their first release, Orchestra of Wolves, which I loved but lacked the outstanding musicianship of Grey Britain. I think the reason is pretty simple: Gallows got better at playing their instruments and being a band. This is certainly evidenced by the intensity of their live show that I recently described in the Warped Tour Part 2 entry.

Gallows hail from the UK and formed in 2004 out of the ashes of a couple of punk bands. Their first album got the attention of Bad Religion’s guitarist, Brett Gurewitz, who helped get it released in the U.S. on Epitaph Records. They turned some heads and knocked some socks off at the 2007 Warped Tour and began to get some serious attention (I saw them at Warped and loved them). I think this album is what is really going to propel this band into a hardcore scene legend.

I want to talk briefly on what hardcore punk is for those who may not know (most people outside the scene don’t have a clue). When I use the word hardcore or say “hardcore band” I am not using it as the commonly used adjective. I am making a reference to the genre of hardcore punk, which most people simply refer to as hardcore or hXc. Of course, it is a more hardcore version of punk rock, but it has a very specific style that has evolved dramatically over the years. I consider Black Flag and Bad Brains to be the first hardcore bands and their styles along with the genre itself has influenced nearly every punk or heavy band. In contemporary music the most obvious nod to hardcore is the breakdown, which powers the mosh pit! Find out more at:

Grey Britain is one of those albums that stands out in the hardcore genre, especially during this time period. Some believed that hardcore would not progress anymore and would simply be abandoned for newer forms like post-hardcore or metal-core. This is simply not the case and Gallows is the reason! They are a band that isn’t afraid to utilize classical elements like symphonic samples and piano, yet nearly every track can make a mosh pit churn. The album’s intro opens up with a slow build of an orchestral sample, then pounding drums and the shriek of Frank Carter’s vocals. The next track is f*cking nasty! It is one of my favorites on the album and really moved the pit at the Warped Tour. It exemplifies their tough-guy, we don’t give a damn attitude, yet it is uniquely British and reminds me of pub fights and football hooligans. Lyrically Carter attempts to expose the deep-seated political issues in Britain but his dark tone is fueled by anger (very much a hardcore punk element). Sometimes the songs do not seem to go as deep but simply conjure up images of fighting in dark alleys in London’s rain soaked streets (listen to “Black Eye”). “I Dread The Night” follows a similar theme but the lyrics are much better and it is a standout track on the album, absolutely amazing live. The Vulture is perhaps the most stylistically different on the album and Carter actually sings, but it is a haunting and melancholy track. I would talk about every track but I honestly think they are all incredible and it is an album that is meant to be listened to from front to back.

So please check out this album, it is incredible and even if you’re not into hardcore it will probably grow on you. I am certifying this album as 10/10 Deliciously Nasty! It is a great achievement in hardcore punk rock and is only Gallows second album. This band will be huge, at least in the punk and hxc scene.

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