Review Summary: Gallows are coming to take your town by storm; the album captures the energy of their live shows and brings it to your ears like a vitalising punch delivered to the skull
A debut album to remember. From the moment this starts, to the embers of the final song, you know you are experiencing something brilliant, fresh, and powerful, but with its heart in the right place. Gallows seem to draw their influence from hardcore punk, which ranges from the older shouts of bands such as Minor Threat, and Black Flag, as well as the revitalised hardcore punk of Rancid's 2000 self-titled album, but it also harbours some metallic riffs.
The album is only 36 minutes long, but this isn't because the songs are unfulfilled, but because they are only 12 in number. By the end of the album you are thirsting for more, but perhaps the vitality and the kick provided by the album is the way it is because
of its breakneck pace.
It starts off with "Kill the Rhythm"
which sets the tone for the album to follow. The cries of 'Kill the rhythm' are guttural and penetrating, and ironically, whilst the songs rhythm is frequently broken with changing tunes, it is also melodic; a bombastic way to introduce yourself to your prospective listeners. The next track is "Come Friendly Bombs"
, which maintains the openers aggressive edge, as indeed does the whole album, but has underlying keyboard melodies too, and the song lyrics denote a dark, brutal background, where people used to "kick my f**ing head in just to feel alive", according to the lead vocalist. "Abandon Ship"
, the next track on the album is probably my favourite track off the record, a mixture of punk and even emotional hardcore, (as seen in the lyrics "so baby baby hold me tight / while I drown myself in you tonight"). Again, it is very melodic, and you will find yourself singing along with lyrics you probably thought you wouldn't have. "In the Belly of a Shark"
is next, and this song has some bite (pun intended), and here more than ever, you can hear the bands Watford roots come out, as the singer bellows out "so here am I / in the belly of a shark!" to start the song off. Whilst the song is powerful and catchy, and will no doubt be a favourite, the lyrics don't resonate with me particularly, and it may be overrated by some. However, it is a staple track in their live performances, and it is one of their best performed songs. "Rolling With the Punches"
is the next standout, reminiscent of Oi! Punk, and it is one of the best tracks on the album, and it is shout (sing) along stuff, the song is about staying strong and getting back up when you have been knocked down, inspiration, and even danceable in the keyboard melodies.
The band add another aggressive furious song, "Will Someone Shoot that f**ing Snake"
, but has a strangely underlying dance like keyboard tune underneath the abrasive exterior, something which Gallows seem to do very well. "Stay Cold"
is a venomous song which relates back to the 1,000 pounds Gallows had stolen from them at a show, one of their early ones, when they were still building as a band. It comically references the Streets' album, as the vocals roar "Someone said a grand don't come for free / apparently it does when you're a f**ing thief," but the vengeance promised is anything but comic. The title track "Orchestra Of Wolves"
is diligent, earnest, offensive and bold, speaking about date rape, and men and women's treatment in society. An absolutely brilliant ending, haunting to the finish.
There are a few missteps on the album, and some tracks that seem like filler, such as "I Promise This Won't Hurt"
, a very short blast full of fury and clocking in at under 2 minutes, giving it punch, but it misses out of the melodiousness of other surrounding tracks. However, live, this will cause mayhem, as will "Six Years"
, a solid song, showcasing what Gallows do well, in their aggressive vocals and arresting melodies, but it is not catchy enough to prodcuce a hit but its screamed lines, and build up of sound though are enough to make anyone take a second look.
In total, this is a brilliant and bold attempt at a first album, and the direction they go from here is up to them, although ideally the next album should contain a couple more blockbusters such as:
Orchestra of Wolves
Rolling With The Punches
And whilst songs such as "I promise this won't hurt" and "six years" are a little bland, with time and maturity, (as long as they can maintain the raw energy they possess) this will be a band to watch.