There’s something stirring in England’s gutters. Something dirty and menacing, slimy and cruel. It’s a new face in the Punk scene, a band called Gallows. Their latest record, Grey Britain, is working its way into America, leaving a trail of destruction and filth wherever it goes.
Don’t let the fancy packaging and major label fool you, this is not a record for the masses. A throbbing, distorted bass and irreverant guitar make it inaccesible for the Green Day fanbase, and Frank Carter’s chainsaw vocals would scare the shit out of most of suburban America. In other words, it’s an impressive Hardcore record.
One thing which seperates it from other punk/hardcore albums are itsinfluences. Gallows don’t have the same purist mentality of other bands in their genre, instead Grey Britain comes across as an updated history of British Rock. Obviously the Sex pistols have a hand in it, how could they not have influenced an album with lines like “Great Britain is fucking dead”?There’s also some Motorhead in there, both in the whisky soaked vocals and the hit-it-‘til-it-bleeds drum technique, and it’s hard to hear an operetta with a big acoustic guitar without thinking of The Who. Finally, Sabbath makes an appearance when they drop to halftime and hit… every… single… note.
Gallows seems to have a fascination with two things, death and the bottom of the food chain. There’s no question that Frank Carter is focused on the end of things, both in visceral descriptions of murder and what comes afterwards, be it heaven or the bottom of the Thames. Theres also a clear fascination with the animals who eat this refuse, from rats to pigs to vultures. He tends to compare himself and his friends to the rats, hungry tough scavengers who are scorned by most “civilized” people.
The album ends with just Carter’s voice, and then just his shaky breathing. After so morbid an album it’s hard not to think of this as a death rattle. But it’s also the end of an album about bottom-feeders, written from the bottom, and designed to be heard by the rest of the rats.
LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org