Sound — 9
Grey Britain is Gallow' second album and is as good a british hardcore punk album that you'll find on a recordstore shelf today. Recorded on a much larger budget than their predecessor (which was initially released on a tiny label until Warner bro's signed them) the sound is a lot more mature and refined than their raw debut. That is not to say it's worse though, the songs are pretty competant and Frank Carter is still pissed off. The album opens with "The Riverbank" which is slow, doom laden and ominous. By far the slowest thing that Gallows have ever done, it's a fitting introduction to the album, which runs straight into the highly powered track "London is the Reason", dotted with spiralling guitars courtesy of Lags Barnard and Steph Carter, angered screams, fuzzed up bass and raging drums, capturing a true punk sound. "Leeches" contines this theme, but adds a bit more groove with the "Rage Against the Machine" section being an excellent example of how Gallows have become more diverse. "Black Eyes" has more of a swagger to it and has proved to be a fan favourite live. The drumming on the track is probably the best in the album, with Lee Dorrian showing much improved chops this time out. "I Dread the Night" continues the swaggering riffage but contains the closest thing that Gallows will ever get to an anthemic chorus. "Death voices" takes the cake when it comes to best punk rock singalong and is probably Frank Carter's Standout song on the album and the acapella breakdown near the end is ferocious. The biggest surprise on the Album is "The Vulture Act I + II". Frank Carter's clean vocals (Yes, clean vocals!) in Act one are a lot better than expected and are surprisingly competant. The second half is standard Gallows, the angry vocals and driving riffs returning to great effect. "The Riverbed" is one of the more metallica tracks on the album with a heavy intro and only a short section where Frank sings. It is a large change in sound from their previous effort and is their heaviest track to date. The spiralling guitars are back in "The Great Forgiver" which is a 2 minute long blast of hardcore punk which doesn't let up at all. It's a fan favourite live and usually conjures a large circle pit due to it's intensity. "Graves" is one of the weirder tracks. The first section is reminiscent of "Kill the Rhythm" off of "Orchestra of Wolves". The second half however is more melodic, and features a vocal contribution from Simon Neill of "Biffy Clyro" fame, which despite sounding like an unlikely collaboration, actually works fairly well. "Queensbury Rules" has a swaggering intro which leads into a fast section which could have been off Metallica's "Kill 'em All" which doesn't let up until the doom laden section at the end which is a perfect haunting intro for "Misery", which in my opinion is the albums stand out track, Grinding bass, heavy guitars and great vocals combine, with a huge breakdown sending the song to it's close. The final track "Crucifucks" fails to live up to this and despite it's awesome title, is one of the weaker songs on here. It's not that it's a bad song it's just not got a patch on the others.
Lyrics — 9
A lot of people won't agree with me here, but I think that Frank Carter's Lyrics are fantastic and that he is one of the best british lyricists out there. I'm not gonna post any of them in this review, because they are grim to the point of disturbing in places. Go and look them up. Stand out Tracks include "Death Voices" and "Misery". Frank deals mainly with the problems that britain faces as a society today. "Queensbury Rules" deals with Knife crimes, "I Dread the Night" is about the british culture of getting wasted every weekend. Frank really cuts loose on "Crucifucks" with the chilling lyrics taking an average song and making it great. The outro is like a bad dream it's so evil. Depressing stuff, but brilliantly written. The vocal delivery is brutal as usual, but the cleans in "The Vulture" are great too and prove that frank has more than one string to his bow. It's also worth mentioning in here, that the album art inside the booklet that comes with the album is incredibly grim. Buy it and try not to be ill when you see it.
Overall Impression — 9
This album has achieved parity with their debut in my eyes. This is no mean feat, as "Orchestra of Wolves" recieved a load of critical acclaim and is regarded as one of the best hardcore punk albums this decade. If this is at all your thing, then take a punt on both this and "Orchestra" as they are both pretty good albums.