10 September 2012
It still sounds like Gallows. That’s the important thing. Sure, Frank Carter – the angry ginger kid spitting blood and guts at the front – is gone, but it still sounds like Gallows. It’s the rule, isn’t it? Whoever shouts loudest gets all the credit but, despite the cries of many immediately after his departure, there was always more to this band than just one man. While their truly iconic former singer can never be replaced like-for-like, here are 32 minutes explaining why Gallows Mk II is seemingly here to stay nonetheless.
Wade MacNeil has a voice that is actually almost as obnoxiously-affected as Carter’s Mockney punk holler despite hailing from as close to London (the Ontario version) as his predecessor did (the England version), but it actually fits the music better. There’s an added fury to MacNeil’s words that bowls through Lags Barnard’s beautifully idiosyncratic guitars with a comfortable bluster. It seems like less of a man shouting over music as a man shouting with the music. It feels more like a band. It sounds more like a band. It still sounds like Gallows.
From raucous opener ‘Victim Culture’ to furious final track ‘Cross Of Lorraine’, there are no ballads. Their self-titled third album hurtles along without mercy but with heaviness in ladles. It’s exactly what you want a punk rock album to be. While the squealing riffs are the focal points of songs like ‘Last June’ and ‘Nations/Never Enough’, the swagger of ‘Depravers’ and the stomp of ‘Odessa’ are fuelled by enormous choruses. If you don’t find yourself singing along with the gang vocals, you’re dead inside. It sounds like the kind of band you want to be in.
Despite having much strength in depth, the UK punk scene doesn’t have too much diversity at the top end of the spectrum and that’s why Gallows are still kings of this particular hill. Despite having churned out classic songs seemingly at will over the last few years, they’re not untouchable – the post-Frank backlash of apathy proved that – but it’s lucky that 80 per cent of what made Gallows what they were before are still here. It still sounds like Gallows. It sounds fucking great.
Sounds like: Gallows.
Top tracks: Cross Of Lorraine, Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead), Odessa