It was always going to be hard for Gallows to relive their past glory. Even with Frank Carter, topping Grey Britain
would have been a pretty exceptional feat. But after losing the unique aspect he brought to the band and the distinctive ‘Gallows’ sound that made them so recognisable and fantastic, it seemed almost impossible.
At least it can be said they tried. Rather than try to copycat Frank and spend years chasing their own shadow, they immediately hired ex-Alexisonfire vocalist Wade MacNeil- a complete contrast to the ‘British’ sounding Frank. Departing into a new musical direction seemed the wise thing to do for Gallows in order for them to continue their superiority and relevance in music.
Where it all falls down is in the execution. Because Death Is Birth
, rather than a natural progression for the band, feels forced and artificial. It appears that the idea of ‘trying something new’ took absolute precedence over everything else, including actually making the music interesting and enjoyable. Gallows seem to have done everything to make sure their new sound was as far removed from their previous one as possible, completely compromising the quality of the music. Take, for example, “True Colours”. Not the original “True Colours” given away for free a few months ago in fact, but the rerecorded version that’s heard on the final version of the EP. The original version was incredible. The parts fitted in well, yet it was intense and enjoyable. Most importantly, it felt natural. Gallows were neither trying to rehash their earlier sound or force themselves as far away from it as possible, and in doing so proved that they didn’t need Frank Carter anymore. But for Gallows, this apparently wasn’t enough, because the rerecorded version is a completely different story. It sounds like they were trying to make it sound rawer, similar to the earlier hardcore punk of the 70’s and 80’s. But it leaves the song in a disjointed and dissonant mess, with practically no merit left whatsoever.
The rest of the EP follows in a similar vein, with admittedly noisy, but completely dull and uninteresting music. The songs are homogenous, short and aimless. After 7 ½ minutes the EP is over. Again, the impression is that the band specifically set out to make sure the EP remained this short, cutting it off before it has any chance to finish naturally or leave any real impact on the listener. On top of unnecessarily boisterous lyrics, you could almost say that Gallows are trying too hard to be a band they’re not. “Mondo Chaos” provides the (relatively) most enjoyable music of the EP, with an almost catchy
riff, once more proving that Gallows’ sweet spot is to be found elsewhere from where they’re currently trying to force themselves into.
Whatever will follow for Gallows in the future, it appears that it may take them some more time to comfortably settle on a sound that will see them match their previous success. For now, they seem a little lost- pushing against the grain rather than follow a natural direction in which they have already proven they have the potential to write fantastic music again.