June 25, 2013

Filthy Review - 'Gallhammer: The End'

Gallhammer: The End (2011)

Peaceville Records

Review by Wayne Simmons

Gallhammer’s third LP The End was released in 2011 and features no guitar. After eight years, two LP length releases and a string of demos and EPs, guitarist, Mika Penetrator, dropped out of the Tokyo-based black metal trio leaving bassist/ vocalist Vivian Slaughter and drums/ vocalist, Risa Reaper, to continue on as a two-piece.

For the most part, the album doesn’t suffer.

The title track is probably the highlight of this release and the most reminiscent of Gallhammer’s signature sound. It’s a slow song, driven by a killer bass line, punctuated with Reaper’s drums. Slaughter’s voice is a brooding growl rinsing something in the way of melody out from the heavy feedback. Penultimate track, Wander, is another highlight with its slow, plodding bass line and painfully melancholic vocal.

Second track, Rubbish, is fast and chaotic and to some degree a departure from the typically stark and devastating sound the band are known for. The drums are pounding, heavy on the snare, light on just about everything else. The bass is a wall of distortion, Slaughter’s voice strained and frantic as it rises from the ashes to bring some sort of order. Aberration and Sober both carry a similar vibe, albeit with more melody, less chaos and the added dimension of dual vocals from Slaughter and Reaper.

Entropy g35 is a punky number with echoes of Territorial Pissings by Nirvana.

Closing track, 108=7/t-na, is the most experimental on the album, opening with a punch-drunk bassline blending into Slaugther’s psyched-out (yep, you guessed it) saxophone.

In many ways, The End is a return to Gallhammer’s earlier sound with less structure and sophistication than 2008 release, Ill Innocence. The stripped back approach may partly be due to Penetrator’s absence or it might be an attempt to capture the popular drone vibe of other black metal or sludge acts. Either way, Gallhammer remain a force to be reckoned with and have proved that not every metal album needs guitar to succeed.

Track listing:

1. The End
2. Rubbish CG202
3. Aberration
4. Sober
5. Entropy G35
6. Wander
7. 108=7/T-NA

The End is available now through Peaceville Records.

No comments: