Gloomy Lights

Written by: EW on 13/05/2010 23:59:39

Prior to giving "Gloomy Lights" a number of spins in recent weeks I will admit to having been a little apprehensive of the attention given to Gallhammer, reckoning their unholy racket has brought attention on itself through it's creators being three cute little Japanese ladies, and little else. I can now however eat humble pie and say that is definitely not the case, but the fact that this IS made by three cute little Japanese ladies somehow makes perfect sense, staggering as that may seem.

This lo-fi recording, originally released in 2004 but recently reissued by Peaceville, showcases Gallhammer's knack for writing engaging headbangable songs despite obviously limited recording and production skills. The simple rehearsal room feel, completely devoid of recording studio spit and polish, brings out the charisma in the band's punked up and fucked up songs: see for yourself in "Lost My Self" - full of Darkthrone-esque crusty swagger and Discharge-d impatience; or "State of Gloom", where the girls plod along in Reverend Bizarre-like doom greatness. Aside from the perverted pleasure I gain from listening to such primitive music in this day and age, it is the demented and barbaric shrieks of Mika Penetrator and Vivian Slaughter that add the extra layer of black icing on this worryingly crusty cake. Coming from the mouths of any man they would give Varg Vikerne's howl of olden times a run for it's money, but from two women it is even more pleasing on the ear.

Despite bands like Darkthrone still feeling the love for creating run-down battered old records, and fellow Japs Coffins being guilty as charged in the crime of recording (worthy) disgusting death metal, it is Gallhammer I find most enjoyable out of this brigade. Free from the 'scene pressure' to conform that almost certainly affects the majority of bands from Scandinavia, Japan's collective of artists such as Coffins, Sabbat, Sigh, as well as Gallhammer, all have the knack of seeming free in sound and spirit, living in a musical landscape not defined by any existing 'sound' or scene. Through this, and despite obvious similarities to other equally depraved bands, Gallhammer carry a unique edge on their debut album "Gloomy Lights" that rubbishes my assumption of their relative success being based on image alone. I hereby apologise forthwith.

Download: Crucifixion, Lost My Self
For the fans of: Darkthrone, Hellhammer, old Discharge, Coffins
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.02.2010 (Originally 11.11.2004)
Peaceville Records

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