There will be two schools of thought here. Those that feel Gallows lost an x-factor when pocket dynamo Frank Carter stepped down as frontman and might even refuse to listen to this record, and those that think the band gained a final key ingredient with the appointment of former Alexisonfire man Wade MacNeil and will hope it’s their best yet.
The debate won’t rage for long though. Wait, of course it will, that’s what the internet is for. But this is neither total failure nor terrific new beginning. The true place for album number three from the Watford mob is square in the middle. Take the soap opera away, and this might be the least interesting that Gallows have sounded. Sure, they still have a wicked way with a sharp, grungy riff and bruising bassline but there’s nothing here to criticize or to champion, much workmanlike frenzy but too few standout moments.
That doesn’t mean ‘Gallows’ (the album) is bad, just that Gallows (the band) have sunk back, slipped to the middle of the punk rock pack. And it’s not MacNeil’s fault either, his gruff below is brilliant, it’s that the songs here lack dominance and drive. Everything’s just kind of… ok. It feels like a teaser, a trailer for what could come, rather than any career-defining restart. How anyone is going to use this as evidence that Gallows are (still) punk rock’s last, best hope is beyond me. The better cuts here will no doubt sound great live but this is pit-starting, fans-only fodder and won’t remain on many regular rotation lists come Christmas.