Launching into ‘Victim Culture’ with all the subtlety of an earthquake, Gallows circa 2012 pull no punches. A robotic-sounding female voice dictates a speech for the first minute, taking into consideration themes of oppression and the status quo, building the tension for an album full of clean cut, razor sharp riffery and brutal vocals. At face value, the latest Gallows offering is a solid one, until you remember debut album Orchestra Of Wolves and the swirling hurricane of a frontman that was Frank Carter. Carter has since left the band in favour of softer pursuit Pure Love and the hole left in the band is blazingly obvious. Ex-Alexisonfire guitarist/vocalist Wade MacNeil has stepped in to fill the vacancy and whilst his vocals are concrete, the fire that inspired the fury has been extinguished. Lacking the lyrical confidence of Carter, Gallows merely sound like a watered down version of their former selves.
The growling introduction to ‘Outsider Art’ is the most comprehensible track and sounds like Gallows attempting some form of progression in their sound; gang chants bulk out the vocals at times and the drop after the bridge two minutes in begins to create a bigger atmosphere. Their punk edge is brought into the spotlight for ‘Vapid Adolescent Blues’, a three minute assault which again feels like it’s starting something, only to be let down by the rest of the album. With each track clocking in at around three minutes, this album should be able to hold your attention, yet you can’t help but feel that Gallows have passed their prime and it’s a damn shame.