Desolation Sounds

Written by: PP on 27/05/2015 23:47:35

Let's face it. "Gallows" was a shocking album if you were a Gallows fan prior to mastermind Frank Carter's departure. It was also a difficult one to assess objectively due to its predecessor "Grey Britain" already enjoying a status as a genre classic within the UK at least. The radical shift from experimental hardcore into straight-forward, tear-it-apart style was such a stark contrast that it was difficult to swallow for many. But time heals all wounds, they say, so it's now possible to look at the Wade MacNeil (ex-Alexisonfire) fronted Gallows with a fresh set of ears. Almost. The band don't make it any easier on you by taking another, albeit not quite as radical shift on their fourth album "Desolation Sounds", this time spinning almost a full 180 back towards a more experimental style. With their pedal-to-the-floor style hardcore from the previous album still following closely in the rear-view mirror, of course.

Much like Cancer Bats did on their recent experimental hardcore-driven tearjerker "Searching For Zero", Gallows now attempt to merge past with present but subsequently sound like a band in search of an identity. Opener "Mystic Death" reminds us that the current incarnation of the band is still about breakneck speed hardcore where melody is secondary to aggressive tempo and testosterone-driven delivery, but already "Chains" shows signs of experimentalism. Here, haunting female choral vocals supplement a melancholic soundscape that would've felt totally out-of-place on "Gallows". Similarly, "Cease To Exist" appears inspired by Deftones given its echoing and expansive soundscapes. If that's not an obvious attempt to re-ignite the interest of their older fanbase who desire more than speed in their hardcore, then I don't know what is.

Sandwiched in between these tracks we have the typical anonymous hardcore punk tracks that we also had on "Gallows". Most of this can be attributed to Wade's generic and rather forgettable vocal style that still is the main stumbling point this band has after Carter. Basically, they sound like everyone and no-one else during these moments. That's why it's a good idea to start expanding their sound away from the generic style, which actually happens on multiple occasions on "Desolation Sounds". But right now, it's still too anonymous to truly matter in the same way as "Grey Britain" did. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad, though.


Download: Desolation Sounds, Chains, Death Valley Blue
For the fans of: Cancer Bats, Black Lungs, Trash Talk
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.04.2015
Bridge 9

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