Gallows - Orchestra of Wolves
Record Label: Epitaph Records
Release Date: July 10, 2007
If you're an aggressive band in today's world, you're practically drowning in a sea of mass-produced metalcore and screamo acts, all competing for the most MySpace plays. Distancing themselves from the crowd, England's Gallows are making unadulterated hardcore and are positioning themselves to conquer the world. The release of their debut, Orchestra of Wolves, coupled with their summer-long stint on Warped Tour are just the first steps toward global domination.
Orchestra finds Gallows' frontman Frank Carter kicking and screaming his way through fifteen tracks of pissed-off perfection. While he claims that his band "bring the party" on the opening track, "Kill the Rhythm," the chaos to follow is anything but all fun-and-games. On "Come Friendly Bombs," Carter stands up in defiance, despite being the victim of street gang violence. Then his animosity toward former significant others rings loud and clear on "Abandon Ship" and "In The Belly Of A Shark," the latter of which features echoed vocals, playing off the song title, as well as a brief respite from the full-on machine gun assault with some serious lead guitar riffs. Carter also addresses family ties in "Six Years," his commitment to stand up for his mother manifested in a burning diatribe against a man that crossed her.
The tone changes ever-so-slightly for "Rolling with the Punches," the band's statement of self-belief. Nothing is going to stop these guys from making the music they want to make, and you can tell Carter means it when he says it. However, after the creepy, one-minute interlude, "Last Fight for the Living Dead," he's right back into letting some lucky girl know just how he feels on "Just Because You Sleep Next to Me Doesn't Mean You're Safe."
The onslaught doesn't stop there. He's out to let someone else have it on "Will Someone Shoot That Fucking Snake." Not one to euphemize, Carter spells it right out, "You're fucking dead when we catch you." "Stay Cold" tells anyone who wants to start something with the band to bring it on. They don't care who you are. "I Promise This Won't Hurt," a confession from a dentist's chair, tells the story of a man who's been on the losing end of many a fight, yet still seems primed for more.
Carter and the gang have a little fun on the title track, one that goes "out to all the girls." Long term relationships be damned. Carter makes it clear he wants one thing, and one thing only. It's no surprise that he's given up on love after hearing "Sick Of Being Sick" and "Black Heart Queen", in which Carter reveals having been hurt one too many times.
They top it all off with a cover of Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown". This is really a perfect song because it suits their style and also because it describes their music perfectly, almost every second of this record being a bulging-eye spazzfest. When it's all said and done, it's clear that these guys are ready to be the new torch-bearers for punk. They pull no punches and aren't afraid to say whatever they want, and the fierce, defiant lyrics are coupled with Carter's equally strident delivery. Who cares if he can sing? The songs weren't meant to be sung. And while this record lacks the production polish found on most albums today, this one was rightfully kept raw and true, which only adds to the experience. When all of the current, trendy, flash-in-the-pan bands have been forgotten, this is the kind of electrifying record that will leave a legacy.