Gallows
Grey Britain


4.5
superb

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
May 1st, 2009 | 425 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: British hardcore's state of the union address.

“Britain is fucked. Grey Britain is all about what's going on socially, politically and economically in the UK and how it affects us.”

When Frank Carter speaks, screams and sings, he doesn’t bullshit. With his band, Gallows, the heavily tattooed geezer has spent the past few years in a spin of magazine hype, critical acclaim and blistering live performances (sometimes with all but the drummer ending up in the crowd). Their debut, 2006’s Orchestra of Wolves, may have placed the band’s foot in the door of international hardcore, but it’s now time for the band’s sophomore, Grey Britain, to kick the door down and trash everything in sight. This is no second album slump by any stretch of the imagination. Grey Britain takes every positive attribute one associates with Gallows as a band, broadens its horizons and establishes a full progression upon it – literally to the point that it’s scary.

If the above quote hasn’t entirely assisted you in grasping Grey Britain’s concept, you’ll be swiftly be pointed in the right direction the second Carter cracks open his lips and commences his tirade. “We have no fear! We have no pity! We hate you! We hate this city!”, he sneers cynically on “London is the Reason”, before chanting those very words in gang vocals. The lyrics continue in a similarly anarchic tone throughout the record, centralising around the demise of the world around us (in particular, the band’s native U.K.). “We are the rats and we run this town”, explains Carter in “London…”s opening lyrics, before commanding “If the horses don’t drink, drown them in the water” on “The Vulture (Acts I & II)” and “Drag your crosses through the ground!” on “Death Voices” (which itself alludes to the coming of the Four Horsemen). The role that Frank’s lyrics plays in Grey Britain appears to be one of a ringleader, calling to arms anyone who is revolted by the way things are. One could even argue that Grey Britain stands as the first aggressively political record of the post-Bush era. There’s certainly enough lyrically to support such a statement.

The rest of the band sound just as merciless and volatile through their instruments, without resorting entirely to down-tuned chugging, or even lapsing into the generic “aggressive white boy” guitar and drums attack that plagues so much hardcore that strives for legitimacy. Everything from the duelling guitar licks of Steph Carter and Lags Barnard to Lee Barratt’s tight, militant drumming emphasises the lyrical convictions and statements. Take the chameleonic shift from Act I to Act II of “The Vulture” as a prime example. The former introduces itself with echoing acoustic guitar and Frank quietly (and – shockingly enough – very capably) singing the disturbing lyrics. The latter completely transforms into a chaotic, distorted thrash, with the vocals becoming tortured, desperate screams. The lyrics remain the same in both acts, but the emotions conveyed could not vary any further.

Whilst the band is as solid as ever, it’s the little musical differences in comparison to Orchestra of Wolves that boosts the record’s soundscape. From the sinister intro of “The Riverbank” to the sweeping outro of “Crucif*cks”, the album’s underbelly is spattered with subtle, haunting orchestration, piano-led interludes and sounds that could have been taken from any London backstreet (siren wails, pig squeals, muted screams etc) that add to the album’s bleakness in a daringly theatrical fashion. It may not seem noteworthy, but in the context of Grey Britain it amalgamates the sound of the album with its daunting themes and concept.

Gallows, as a band, have become less raw (which some may see as a drawback), but have become far more cohesive and focused in the process- which is, really, difficult to see as anything but beneficial. The quintet has established a persona that doesn’t give a shit about you, your government or NME’s cool list. This is an apocalyptic, relentless and uncompromising portrayal of where we stand in the world, and just what's gone wrong. No gimmicks, no transparency, no Obama coattails- just straight up hardcore punk with a new sense of purpose.

It’s time to for us to take a stand
We are dying on our knees in this great broken land
And all the martyrs, they have to fix themselves
And death ain’t a sin when you’re living in Hell
There ain’t no glory and there ain’t no hope
We will hang ourselves- just show us the rope
There ain’t no scapegoats left to blame
We brought this on ourselves, and we’re gonna bring the change

Grey Britain is fucking dead.

So cut our throats! End our lives!
Let’s
fucking start again!




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user ratings (538)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very painstakingly close to being not only a five, but album of the year.

kitsch
May 2nd 2009


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

gallows rules

AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes.

Amnesty
May 2nd 2009


97 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love this album
"dig up your casket fill it with stone, this is the end of the world and we're bringing it home"This Message Edited On 05.01.09

YouAreMySilence
May 2nd 2009


3727 Comments


It's pretty great.
Quite repetitive though

AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Would you say so? I didn't get that at all.

Nikkolae
May 2nd 2009


4880 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i wanna download it where could i find it, also nice review

Digging: Modern Witch - Unknown Domain

AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's streaming on their MySpace

KritikalMotion
May 2nd 2009


2262 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

may actually make me listen to this band now.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
May 2nd 2009


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review but I don't think this is a 4.5. For me the vocals ruined it, but I only listened to it once so I'll probably give it another chance.

taylormemer
May 2nd 2009


4953 Comments


Nice work man. Saw you listening to this earlier and was pretty interested.

AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What, in my house? You creep!

taylormemer
May 2nd 2009


4953 Comments


As I said. I only live 8 horns from you now so yeah. Watch it

AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Jake is a creepazoid
Come on and wind him up

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
May 2nd 2009


7025 Comments


Is there a stream of this up anywhere?

AtavanHalen
May 2nd 2009


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

MYSPACE

taylormemer
May 2nd 2009


4953 Comments


Nah, to be quite honest I Googled your MSN lyrics thinking they were for something else and this came up. MySpace tracks are pretty decent so far.

DirEnRefused
May 2nd 2009


2255 Comments


I'm soo hyped for this ****. Being on dialup and KNOWING I could be listening to this is killing me.

Crucifucks = best song title ever?

So does Frank actually sing decently?This Message Edited On 05.02.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2009


20859 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another fantastic review DavID. Pos.

You know enough about my tastes... You reckon I will like these guys? Of course, it may have helped if you put some 'Reco by Reviewer' albums!



Phantom
May 2nd 2009


8930 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

There is no way this is a 4.5, it's 3-3.5 at best. And yes I've listened to the stream, multiple times.



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