Losing a band member can’t be easy, particularly when that member is your front man. When that front man is as big a personality and as distinctive vocally as Frank Carter, it must be quite a blow. Luckily for Gallows, Wade MacNeil (formerly of Alexisonfire) has stepped in to take his place. Nevertheless, things must be a little tense at the Gallows’ camp, as this is their first major release without Carter since the patchy Grey Britain.
With its dark lyrics, the atmospheric opener ‘Victim Culture’ sets the tone for the rest of the album. Things really kick into gear with the third track ‘Last June’, the rhythm section especially impressive. The gang vocals on ‘Outsider Art’ and ‘Vapid Adolescence Blues’ are well produced and you can imagine the masses roaring along to these tracks at their live shows. However, things dip slightly during ‘Austere’ an average track that doesn’t do much for the dynamic of the album.
Thankfully, things pick up almost immediately with ‘Depravers’, relentlessly fast paced while maintaining a warm melody, essentially due to Wade MacNeil’s efforts on vocals. The best is yet to come as things really take an interesting turn with ‘Nations/Never Enough’ and ‘Cult of Mary’, almost reminiscent of Converge circa No Heroes in parts, while ‘Cross of Lorraine’ brings the album to a thrilling close.
A melancholic but empowered album then, and when you bear in mind Carter’s new project Pure Love you understand why it wasn’t feasible for him to continue on in Gallows. Hearing MacNeil front this album may prove challenging for many Gallows fans, especially for those who have been there from the start, and there is a noticeable difference in their sound but it doesn’t change what an inventive and exciting band they are. Highlighting the creative rift between Carter and the rest of the group, Grey Britain was the sound of a band falling apart. Gallows on the other hand, could very well be the apex of their career to date.