Gallows - Gallows (Venn/PIAS)

Bands typically don't survive the loss of their frontman and lead singer - especially one as enigmatic and ferocious as Frank Carter - though there are some prominent exceptions. The pasty, tattooed upstart assaulted the hardcore scene when Gallows arrived some seven years ago, creating a name for the band as they kickstarted their turbulent career with phenomenal debut Orchestra Of Wolves. It's a year since his departure, and Alexisonfire alum Wade MacNeil has stepped up to the plate to take over screaming duties. With their impending third effort, Gallows, can the band rise like a phoenix from the ashes and live up to their previous endeavours?

Released Sep 10th, 2012 via PIAS / By Larry Day
Gallows - Gallows (Venn/PIAS) The aural barrage commences from the first track: 'Victim Culture' sets a forceful pace. With infectious hooks left, right, and centre, the electric opener commands attention as moody guitars swoop through the rhythmic battlefield and the band chant with pure malice: “Victim culture's on the rise”. Politically charged number and lead single 'Last June' looks back on the G20 riots in Toronto, with vicious condemnation and relentless punk riffage. MacNeil has clearly filled the void left by the more vocal Carter (his brother, Steph, remains in the band as guitarist), and his rage-filled snarl is plenty capable of replacing Frank's indecipherable howls.

'Austere' opens with an epic key intro before emerging as a riotous hardcore belter, with rocket-propelled riffs abound and thundering drums taking the driving seat. This is a fast-paced explosion of disjointed melodies and as much crazed yelping as a rabid dog. 'Cross Of Lorraine' is poppier fare - not entirely bubblegum, but it's a noticeable respite from the usual torrent of pummelling percussion and frantic shredding. There are faint hints of Alexisonfire in the melodic hardcore, and MacNeil's influence is clearly felt. There's good reason to believe that this will be a fan favourite at live shows.

This third effort from the group is considerably less crass than their debut. It continues on along the vein of second LP Grey Britain - this is good old-fashioned punk music by new-age punks. Gallows are angry, and they want to shout it from the bottom of their lungs in dingy clubs stained with the blood of age-old moshpits. Frank Carter's departure means little to the music after hearing this album, and after seeing them live, you'll forget all about him. While Grey Britain focused on internal affairs, Gallows takes on the world. In this current era of worldwide political instability, Gallows are taking up arms as the spokes-punks for change.