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I listened to Gallhammer after seeing them in Terrorizer magazine. I knew something was going on when I saw three Japanese girls covered in corpse paint with one wearing an Amebix shirt. When I found out it was crust punk meets black metal meets doom, I knew I had to listen. And I have to say, I think these girls do a really great job of meeting that criteria.
I think my favorite songs are probably At The Onset of the Age of Despair, Blind My Eyes, Ripper In The Gloom and Killed By The Queen. "Onset of the Age..." is very doom-y and simplistic and is probably the best song to start off the album, as I can't imagine another one taking its place. It is also one of the longer songs on the album, following behind "Slog" (8:35). "Blind My Eyes" starts off with a very simple but rather gripping bass line that sets the chugging tempo and mood for the rest of the song. I especially like the lead that kicks in a little before the halfway point. The drummer does a little girl shouting/chant about halfway through the song (I'm assuming it's the drummer because she does it live) and that's the only thing that irked me out about the song. "Ripper..." is quite different from the other songs that I like from the album in that the guitar is an acoustic strumming of the same chord over and over again with a lead guitar playing with a blues-y vibe. The bass line really has a voice in this song, even though it is repetitive. Then outta nowhere, the song really kicks in! The tell-tale chugging guitar and the first vocals of the song begin. The guitar at that point is straight punk oriented and Vivian and Mika trade-off doing vocals until the end of the song. "Killed By The Queen" is an extremely straight-forward song. The guitar riff it starts with is the basis for the song. A slight changes dots the song briefly until you're assaulted with the same riff again. Again, Vivian and Mika trade-off vocal duties throughout this catchy, crusty and blackened tune.
Overall, I have to say that the album, while not anything ground-breaking or mind-blowing, is a solid effort by this Japanese trio. As I have not heard any other works by Gallhammer, I don't have anything to compare it to. Whether that's for better or worse, I don't know. It's something I listen to rarely but it's definitely worth a listen every now and again. If you love doom, crust punk or black metal (or all of the above!) then this is something you need to check out. You WILL find something you like if you are a fan of any of those. But don't take my word for it: listen to it for yourself.