Gallows Grey Britain Hot Press Review

10 06 2009

Last month I reviewed the new Gallows album for Hot Press. I wasn’t a huge fan of the band’s first record, but I adore the second one. It’s my favourite album of the year so far (hence the 5star review) so here’s a reprint for y’all to enjoy.


Grey Britain (Warners)

Five out of five

“And I wanna be/Anyone in the world but me/Trapped in the body of a man defeated/ I am the shape of mistakes repeated” sings Gallows frontman Frank Carter on the biting ‘I Dread The Night.’ It’s a lyric that sums up their sophomore effort Grey Britain perfectly and best of all, the band have now learned how to write a tune so you can sing along with the tattooed tunesmith too (misery loves company, after all). Grey Britain is an extremely brave effort by all accounts. Hell-for all intents and purposes it’s a concept record (the worse two words in any self respecting punk’s vocabulary) and its theme of a dying society flows through all 13 tracks like the River Thames itself.

Largely recorded in Abbey Road studios, Grey Britain stretches the boundaries of the genre and creates something entirely new. Samples of pigs being slaughtered and orchestras under-scoring the still venomous music fits perfectly with Frank’s twisted vision and tracks like ‘Leeches,’ ‘London Is The Reason’ and ‘Death Voices’ pay tribute to their heroes the Misfits and the Murder City Devils while still retaining their own identity. As well as the aforementioned ‘I Dread The Night,’ album highlight has to be ‘The Vulture Act I’ which features Frank actually singing backed only by a battered acoustic guitar. The frontman’s voice sounds naked and raw, yet all the more passionate now that he’s dropped the hardman routine for two minutes.

There isn’t a single note that’s wasted on Grey Britain. It’s hardcore enough for their rabid fanbase, tuneful enough for those who are a little faint of heart and the lyrics would make even the most right wing bigot sit back and admit that Frank has a point. Never mind the bollocks, Grey Britain is the most important punk record in a decade.


Key Track: ‘I Dread The Night’

Edwin McFee