Album review: Gallows, Desolation Sounds


England-based hardcore/punk band Gallows have just released their new album, Desolation Sounds. It’s the fourth album from UK boys and the first that doesn’t feature Steph Carter, who left in 2013. Listening to it though, all signs lead to they’re doin’ just fine without him.

Now, this record might be named Desolation Sounds, but it certainly isn’t empty or bleak. From the very first power chord at the opening of ‘Mystic Death’, we are welcomed into an explosive, metal-laiden, in-your-face kind of sound that will make you want to thrash and rage. Title track ‘Desolation Sounds’ very much moves into the territory of hardcore, with methodical drum beats and rhythmic guitar runs, teamed with strong vocals of Wade MacNeil, and is reminiscent of his days as the Alexisonfire front-man.

‘Leviathan Rot’ has got that whole really fast but at the same time really slow thing that most hardcore fans appreciate, and would make for an excellently brutal circle pit.

‘Chains’ provides the expected mid-album slowdown that features on many hardcore albums, and is highlighted by some very ethereal, ghostly female vocals that does well to contrast the heaviness of MacNeil’s screams.

Then comes the most curious part of the album: ‘Bonfire Season’. True Gallows fans, and/or true hardcore music fans might not enjoy this track as much, as it features more stripped back sounds in all aspects, something that really shows the band is taking a different tone since the departure of Steph Carter.

‘Cease to Exist’ takes a turn into a grungier, almost Nirvana-esque place that works well on its own, but doesn’t flow as well with the record as a whole. Mainly, because it features a much more melodic, almost prettier guitar riff than every other song.

However, the record finishes neatly with ‘Swan Song’, and encompasses all of the highs and lows that are heard through the entirety of the record.]

Gallows are playing some shows in the UK and Germany this May. Head to their Twitter page to find out more.



Review by Annastasia Robertson.