Grey Britain Review

artist: Gallows date: 08/07/2009 category: compact discs
Gallows: Grey Britain
Released: May 2, 2009
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Label: Warner Bros.
Number Of Tracks: 13
Their last album, Orchestra of Wolves, focused mainly on the band's hardcore roots, but Grey Britain is a completely different story. It has hints of metal, folk, and classical.
 Sound: 8.7
 Lyrics: 8.7
 Overall Impression: 9
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reviews (3) 16 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
Grey Britain Reviewed by: sullyshredder, on may 21, 2009
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The first thing you need to know about Gallows is that they are an ever-changing band. Their last album, Orchestra of Wolves, focused mainly on the band's hardcore roots, but Grey Britain is a completely different story. It has hints of metal, folk, and classical. The opening track, The Riverbank, comes in with an orchestra playing a solemn tone, with the River Thames splashing in the background. Then the guitar kicks in and pummels you. The next six songs (London is the Reason, Leeches, Black Eyes, I Dread the Night, and Death Voices) don't wait to unleash their onslaught upon you. They are fast-paced, brutal punk songs. Then, the boys in Gallows catch you off guard with an acoustic track, The Vulture Act 1. This is their first acoustic track, and even though some fanboys will hate them for it, it is good to show their diversity. Once again, Gallows crank up the volume and blow you away with the next five songs (The Vulture Act 2, The Riverbed, The Great Forgiver, Graves, and Queensberry Rules). The last two songs are by far some of the most epic you'll hear all year, Misery and Crucifucks. Misery features a metal breakdwon with group vocal, which is sure to be a fan favorite live. Then Crucifucks comes along, kicking your arse for three straight minutes. Then a long note on a violin transitions into a piano, and then the rest of the orchestra chimes in. It gives you time to reflect on this great album. // 9

Lyrics: Frank Carter, Gallows lead singer, is a character. And it shows in his live performances, lyrics, and singing. The lyrics mostly feature the same theme, the downfall of Great Britain. There are songs about heavy drinking, knife crime, and suicide. Now I have never been to Britain, so I wouldn't know if what the boys in Gallows are saying is true; but it convinces me that the country has some problems. Overall the lyrics are phenominal. Frank's vocal cords have obviously had some strains placed on them, but he sounds fine. The stand-out is his singing on The Vulture Act 1. Noone had ever heard him sing on a record before, and he is outstanding. Hopefully there will be more singing from him in the future. // 8

Overall Impression: Gallows have created their masterpiece, an album that punk lovers will cherish for years to come. You could compare it to the Sex Pistol's lone album, Nevermind the Bollocks. Its that good. There are no "filler" songs on this album, the only song that isn't magnificent is Graves. It just never catches you like the other songs, although it features group vocals with Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil. The major standouts are Leeches, Death Voices, The Vulture (Acts 1 and 2), Misery, and Crucifucks. I will be sure to listen to this album for years to come. Try it out. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Grey Britain Reviewed by: UG Team, on may 22, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Nasty and gnarly. That's Grey Britain in a nutshell. This is the kind of music that will incite the kids toiling in dank, grey-skyed steel towns in England to toss bank a pint and pump their fists, as well as inspiring them to make a difference. London is the Reason, Death Voices and Leeches are anthems from stem to stern; they are full of three rippin' chords and hearty singalongs. Whether they like it or not, or even like to admit it or not, Gallows are trying to kick off a revolution with Grey Britain, an album that maintains a singular pace throughout. There's no slow parts or quiet moments of contemplative reflection. Gallows and Grey Britain exhaust every riff, beat and note. The album is meant to inspire you to do something, anything. Black Eyes is a gritty guitar monster, stuffed with riffs that will convert normally punk-shy metalheads into believers, too. // 8

Lyrics: You don't even need to see long and lean, tattoo-covered and spindly vocalist Frank Carter, who has gone on record to say that Gallows are a hobby for him and that his true passion is his work as a tattoo artist, in the live setting to feel his intensity. Carter spews his politically-charged, sweeping lyrics with such fury that you can envision little gobs of white spit forming at the corners of his mouth while he sings his lungs and larynx rawer than a side of beef! Carter's words, which go from sweeping to specific, are as provocative as his delivery, and his British accent is often easily detectable while he's screaming like a banshee. He paints a picture of the grim state of his native country and often talks about tucking a knife into his shoe or going out and looking for some trouble with a pair of brass knuckles or loving misery as much as she loves him. While it's obvious that he's using these references as metaphors for the bleak state of the world we live in and such phrasings don't feel like a call to violence, Carter's words certainly ain't pretty nor are they bullshit! It's subversive stuff that doesn't go down easy. But then again, if Carter's words were pleasantly palpable, it would dull or blunt some of Gallows' super-sharpened edge. // 9

Overall Impression: Punk rock is meant to get people pissed off, to ruffle feathers and ultimately, to try and exact change. The music helps the disaffected punk rockers get the red out and to turn their rage into productive action. It's the truest form of music as expression, art and effecter. Grey Britain is a sweaty opus that gets that job done and re-ignites the somewhat dormant, tried n true punk rock furnace. Gallows get under the skin of the listener and it doesn't hurt that the antagonistic lyrics are set to three chords that are as venomous as they are melodic. The melodies will help you remember the music, which will further push you to do change your situation if you don't like it! // 9

- Amy Sciarretto (c) 2009

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overall: 9
Grey Britain Reviewed by: Hammerzeit, on august 07, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 9

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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