Sound — 8
The Gallows' sound is best described as organised pandemonium. It may sound like a frenzied combustion of ingredients, but the tightness of the band establishes The Gallows as the best cake to sink one's teeth into, as the 21st century's definitive take on Hardcore Punk. Tracks such as Just because you Sleep Next to Me Doesn't Mean You're Safe encompass what one expects from any song on this album. Resonating bass drives the track, while Carter's howls are perfectly complemented by crushing guitars. It's a track stormy enough to churn the contents of one's stomach. One major criticism that should be taken on board by The Gallows is that despite their being based in the UK, the Reissue has americanised their sound. Certain tracks seem to have been tailored to match the sound of many bands on the Warped Tour that The Gallows will be playing in the summer of 2008. In spite of these faults, there are three tracks that are exemplary of the Gallows' aggressive sound. Primarily, Abandon Ship, with its distorted palm muting packs a punch, and even more so does the title track, with it's immensely groovy riff and thudding bass, redolent of, whisper it quietly, Rage Against the Machine's heavier efforts. Sonically, Rolling with the Punches is the most intriguing track, effectively incorporating keyboards, palm muted barres and the driving bass which, all lead up to a peculiar build up of resonance, before the track fades out, all of which keep the mix engrossingly sinister.
Lyrics — 7
Frank Carter is a man warranting a life time supply of throat lozenges and honey. His rasping, throaty shouting, ever present on Orchestra of Wolves, is probably doing some lasting damage to the man's larynx. To hear him erupt on tracks like Abandon Ship with the line 'Man Overboard Again' is an intensive listening experience. There isn't much variation on the screaming, so if that isn't your thing, steer clear of this record. However, it must be said that when Carter does tone it down, he always does so to great effect. The standout track, in terms of delivery and conviction is certainly the title track. It's just a little bit scary trying to make out what Carter means when he'd bellowing lyrics such as,' My name Is Casanova. I'm basically a man. I have the head of a wolf. The appetite of an entire land. This song is going out to the girls'. At any rate, he isn't your typical hopeless romantic. Typical of a lot of bands in this genre, the lyrics may be primitive in some places, but this isn't meant to be subtle in any respect. That said, it would be a welcome progression for the Gallows to pen some more refined lyrics on future recordings.
Overall Impression — 8
The Gallows' only full length has been reissued to great effect (a touch of class owed credited to the Warner Bros. budget perhaps). However, there are deficiencies. Why must every band out of Britain try to sound American in the studio? It may sell more records, but a compromise on the sound front may lose The Gallows some respect. The Reissue includes a second disc, including BBC Punk sessions, a new track and a cover of Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown(which they should have just saved for the live shows). The cover does show the band's credentials as Hardcore revivalists, despite its lacklustre recording. All in all, Orchestra of Wolves may not have defined the Gallows, but it does enough to ensure their next album is highly anticipated. Orchestra of Wolves is exactly that. It is An Orchestra of Wolves. It leaves the listener expectant, still a little hungry even after devouring 33 minutes of searing hardcore punk. Step forward to the Gallows, execution awaits.