The press has been going crazy for Gallows' sophomore album Grey Britain and we can confirm that it really is as good as the exceptional reviews suggest (the album is released on Monday and you can hear it in full over at www.myspace.com/gallows). The band as a live force are unrivalled for their intensity and stage presence, so we jumped at the offer of catching the band in a tiny venue (Madam Jojos in Soho) to celebrate the album's release.
Before the evening's mayhem could begin it was down to a theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue for the big-screen premiere of the much discussed short film that will accompany the album. In a word the film is brutal, and the perfect visual representation of the album's grim take on the world. We won't give the plot away but we can confirm that the film contains, among other things: explosions; fire; violence; blood (and lots of it); pig-headed policemen; death; and a nasty final scene involving six inch nails...
There was a hell of a lot of expectation for the live show that followed. The band haven't played live too much recently and, as drummer Lee Barratt informed me before the gig, the band was going to perform Grey Britain in its entirety to a crowd that consisted of family, friends and industry-types.
Gallows get the bodies flying in Soho
Tearing on to the stage the band bust straight into Grey Britain's first song proper 'London Is The Reason' and from there on it is classic Gallows carnage. Wirey frontman Frank Carter is in the crowd within 20 seconds and stalking the balcony within 60, leaving the band to command the stage. A shirtless Barratt proceeds to hit his Mapex Orion like he wants to hurt it. His drum parts on Grey Britain are more stripped back than on debut Orchestra Of Wolves allowing him to put everything into nailing each hit, and that he does. The drums sound suitably massive (especially that 24" kick) and, together with the rest of his band, Barratt brings home the new songs with such a ferocity that they crush the already excellent album versions with their weight. Highlights include 'Black Eyes', the brutal 'Queensbury Rules' and the epic 'Misery'.
Gallows' frontman Frank Carter in full swing
The night is already special, but we are also treated to old numbers - 'Belly Of A Shark' (with guest vocals from Frank's mum), 'Abandon Ship' and 'Orchestra Of Wolves'. Barring Barratt, the entire band finish the set in the crowd and the cymbals and feedback fade out to exhausted cheers from the masses.
Gallows' UK tour starts tomorrow (Saturday 2 May). From this performance we can only hope you've bought your tickets because Gallows are about to kick start the biggest year of their careers, and you need to be involved.
Check out the next issue of Rhythm, on sale 12 May, for an exclusive look at Lee Barratt's kit for the Grey Britain tour