Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Cease To Exist" and "Desolation Sounds"

Rating out of 10

Gallows – Desolation Sounds

Release Date: 13th April 2015
VENN Records

Gallows fourth album ‘Desolation Sounds‘ is the second with new vocalist and ex-Alexisonfire guitarist Wade McNeil and the successor to their last album, the self-titled ‘Gallows‘ (2012). It is also its first without Steph Carter, who left in 2013 to put his focus for his own band, Ghost Riders In The Sky. ‘Desolation Sounds‘ is their first effort as a four piece, and as usual, it never falls in a formulaic style of songwriting, which is what a lot of other punk and hardcore bands all too frequently do, falling into monotony. Although the guitars recorded in this are familiar they are also a far cry from the last album. ‘Desolation Sounds‘ is probably the furthest thing from a Gallows album I’ve ever heard, and it’s still great.

The minor keys and moody melodies in every song make them memorable, yet on each listen you find a certain phrase you missed before or a beat you overheard. It’s incredibly addictive once you get past the fact that this isn’t what you might’ve expected after the last record – I listened to this album straight after binging on their last record, so I was half hoping/half expecting more tracks akin to ‘Cross of Lorraine‘, ‘Cult of Mary‘ and ‘Depravers‘. On the first few listens I was a little disappointed because those songs had gargantuan riffs and instantly recognisable hooks but with ‘Desolation Sounds‘ you have to be a little more patient and pay more attention – the pay off is worth it.

Death Valley Blue‘ is a slightly more mid-tempo track with a big low-end chorus and catchy lyrics. ‘Cease To Exist‘ is a really stand out track, because it’s one of those real slow, guttural and emotional tracks. The bass drum pumps out a slow pace while Wade sings softer vocals than the other tracks I’ve heard him sing on, with a big fuzzy bass strumming along until the pace picks up ever so slightly for the chorus. At this point, Wade sings “If I Told You This Was Killing Me, Would You Stop?” until we go back into another verse with a cleaner bass and melody from the lead guitar. The song carries on like this until we get an almost Deftones-esque outro with huge chords and that fuzz bass is brought back in with Wade singing louder than ever.

The heavier tracks on this album like ‘Leviathan Rot‘ strip things back to a raw and visceral fast paced Hardcore Punk sound until we hit the chorus where things slow down for a huge head banging session until the track finishes. The track ‘Desolation Sounds‘ does exactly what it says in the title –  guitars that start with an empty lonely feeling, until it crescendos into complete destruction.

All in all, although I still prefer some of the tracks on the last record, Gallows have honed their sound in this album and it plays through front to end a lot better than the last album. Ultimately, I’d have to say that makes it a better record.