Release Date: May 5, 2009
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Rock, Punk
"If I said I wasn’t scared, I’d be a fucking liar…” Frank Carter’s words on ‘I Dread The Night’, track five on this first album for Gallows’ big-money paymasters Warner Bros. , can be taken out of context to read: 'Seriously, guys, if this doesn’t hit big we are fucked. ' A million-quid record deal does crazy things to a band’s mindset – from rags, literally, to the nation’s most exciting live band via cool lists, epic US tours and headline-grabbing festival performances (getting tattooed on stage generally attracts attention), Gallows find themselves in an unenviable position: wracked with the desire to up the ante on every aspect of low-budget debut Orchestra Of Wolves, but aware that their label need songs to market to the mainstream.
It's no easy task to follow up a record that harvested as much hype as the Gallows' biting 2006 debut, Orchestra of Wolves. Many music mags (Kerrang! and NME, especially) touted the band as the second coming of hardcore punk and the praises were well-founded. Drenched in irony, Frank Carter's frighteningly hedonistic lyrics matched the icky literary prowess of Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho, and the group's savage intensity recalled early U.K.
One currently popular theory claims hard times give birth to great music. The credit crunch, it suggests, might lead to an explosion in socially aware pop of a kind unseen since the Specials and the Jam colonised the charts in the depths of the early 80s recession. It might not happen, not least because the charts of 1979-82 seem the exception rather than the rule, a solitary moment when the top 10 actually reflected Britain's socio-political upheavals.
With the exploding popularity of such scene-pandering bands as Biffy Clyro, Rollo Tomasi, Enter Shikari, and Bring Me the Horizon, when it comes to contemporary punk and hardcore, the UK hasn’t exactly been lighting it up as of late. So when a young band comes along and projects a level of ferocity that’s been unmatched by few of its generational peers, it’s easy to understand how the British music media would be quick to pile heaps of hyperbole-laced praise despite the fact that said band is merely mimicking every single punk band in the United States these days. When your senses aren’t dulled by the Warped Tour every summer, even the most unoriginal band can sound fresh if it’s loud and boisterous enough.
These ambitious second albums represent the first salvo in what will be a long campaign: the struggle to make music that addresses the economic downturn and its disproportionate effect on youth. The most recent figures estimate that 1.5 million young men and women between 16 and 24 are unemployed: the highest figure for 15 years and rising. This is a recipe for depression, frustration and anger, as a whole generation has been brought up in a materialistic, consumerist world that has now receded out of reach.