June 30, 2014 - Bridge NIne
Don’t let the quiet intro to opener “Chains” fool you: There’s nothing calm about this new two-song EP from Gallows, currently one of the most exciting bands in hardcore. And “Chains” shows why: With an intense, crawling pace, a huge and destructive production sound and vocalist Wade MacNeil screaming about “sham rock ’n’ roll,” it’s a great hardcore tune. It shows the band’s strengths: intensity without relying on chugging riffing or any other hardcore staple, and honesty without sounding too cliché. Plus, it hits hard. Really hard. MacNeil puts in an excellent vocal performance here, his drawl like an angry Canadian lumberjack filtered through the best hardcore vocalists. The production sound brings it out great, and it also works perfectly for the tunes, emphasizing all the elements that should be in a raw (and loud) manner.
“Wristslitter” is not as aggressive, instead opting for a mid-tempo swagger, one that shows up late to the party, pushes everyone around, finds the Rye Coalition records and smashes them. It’s not as impactful as the first track, but it is more fun and not as emotionally intense as “Chains,” so it balances out the EP well. It also works to show the different sides of the band’s personality.
As quick as it starts, it ends, the violent little EP not giving a whole lot of material to chew on, but working as a great way to get excitement rising for the band’s next full-length. Mission accomplished: It’s pretty hard to listen to this EP and not get excited.