For 11 tracks, Gallows’ self-titled effort moves on from brooding uncensored despair to deliver intrepid ferocity, that through a more meticulous format, leaves claw marks on your rib cage. But it only makes sense: Gallows thrives on the Watford punks’ skin-peeling structure which coils, strikes and repeats until enough doses of sinister alternative (“Austere”, “Depravers”) seep into your bloodstream. It’s just so much of the record also falls on the shoulders of former Alexisonfire guitarist Wade MacNeil. His debut is stressed to the point that his role seriously fucks with expectations, intervening with throat-ripping anger that cuts like a butcher knife (“Vapid Adolescent Blues”), mauls with unpredictability (“Nations / Never Enough”) and is forcefully blunt enough to give “Last June” a lead-in that’s too rabid to mimic. There’s still a hefty outbreak of hook-dependent anthems, but songs like “Outsider Art” and “Odessa” multiply in volume due to every drop of hunger in snapping percussion and conscientious guitar work, proving Gallows aren’t comfortable with mediocrity. With MacNeil at the helm, their output holds a new persona – one that for much of the record froths at the mouth as it violently and repeatedly smashes itself into walls of doubt.
Download: “Nations / Never Enough”, “Outsider Art”, “Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead)”
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