Review Summary: Sometimes violent. Not really delightful.
Australian/Russian post-hardcore project, Galleons, have released their fourth full-length record: Violent Delights
. Should you care? I don’t know. Honestly, this is the first album I’ve listened to by Galleons and I’m feeling pretty uninspired, so I'm going to do what I do best--create a nonsequitur analogy to describe my thoughts. The best I can come up with currently is to draw comparisons to Frankenstein’s monster. Ready? Too bad, here we go.
Frankenstein’s monster is, at its base, a dead body. Galleons have pursued a dead genre—swancore—in the creation of this record. The monster, however, is a composite of different body parts that have been stitched together. Much the same, Galleons add some minor elements of mathcore, throw some synth work into the mix, and are generally a bit more unstructured than their many predecessors and peers. The monster is hideous, as are the many blatant swancore tropes in this record (I mean the unclean vocals even go out of their way to sound like pre-Downtown Battle Mountain II
Jon Mess). Finally, the monster is huge in stature. This album is fifty-eight f*cking minutes long.
What most people who are unfamiliar with the source material by Mary Shelley don’t realize is that Frankenstein’s monster, despite its horrid appearance, serious daddy (or creator?) issues, and murderous tendencies, has (marginally) redeeming qualities, such as intelligence and the ability to feel remorse. This album also has (marginally) redeeming qualities underneath its initially unpalatable coating. The clean vocal performance by Thomas John Byrne is—despite trying to sound like Jonny Craig far too hard—not bad by any stretch of the imagination. I am noting here that Byrne does start to sound like himself and not a cheap impersonator towards the end of the record, on tracks like “Deadman Wonderland,” and “Dungeon Dweller,” where he adds some grit and character to the saccharine R&B sheen.
Compositionally the album constantly feels a bit too disjointed for its own good, yet this very quality does enough to set Galleons apart from the crowd. Unlike Icarus the Owl, who take their mathy sensibilities in a more pop-oriented direction, Galleons go the heavier route—such as the frenetic pacing of “Vagabond," or the to-and-fro of the eponymous "Violent Delights." While these segments are enough to sort of half-heartedly drag the listener through the first forty minutes of the record, the sheer length of Violent Delights
does everything it possibly can to try and destroy any positive impression this album might leave--which is all the more ironic because the last third of the record is probably the best music on the whole damned thing.
I know some of the truly anti-swancore community would probably want Galleons to burn themselves on a pyre in the Arctic like the monster I have compared them to, but I am afraid that is not likely to happen—and truthfully this album is not bad enough to be called bad and not good enough to be called good. While it tries to inject a tiny bit of life into the styles it panders to, this Frankenstein’s monster simply doesn’t have the build or verve to make any lasting impression.