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Gallows: Desolation Sounds

Watford punks continue to explore hidden depths

While 2012’s eponymous first outing with Wade MacNeil was a stripped-down, raucous affair following the bold ambition of Grey Britain, Desolation Sounds sees Gallows revisiting their more creative side.

Opener Mystic Death comes out of the blocks kicking and screaming, Laurent Barnard’s Krokodil influence coming to the fore with a wall of dense riffage. Leviathan Rot and finale Swan Song both show that the band have lost none of their abrasive rage, with the former’s dissonant sucker-punch ending in a squall of feedback.

However, it’s the female vocals and melancholic tones of Chains that really sees the first seeds of adventure taking fruition, followed by Bonfire Season’s gothic atmospheres. Leather Crown’s furious stomp and gang vocals are underpinned by gorgeous peaks, while the penultimate Cease To Exist sees Wade’s raspy but mellifluous vocals over chimed chords that build to an understated melodic crescendo.

These are still unmistakeably the same pissed-off young men that spewed out of Watford nearly a decade ago, but their venom has now been fused with more ideas in half an hour than they’ve managed in their career to date, and the results are all the more thrilling for it./o:p