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I've never liked hype. Ever. More often than not, when something ends up so celebrated and gabbed about, my initial response is usually a simple irked reaction, reaching to a point of impure contempt when the volumes of said gabbing get too loud to ignore. And sometimes, I'm ashamed to admit, my defenses and will power are beaten down enough to where I finally scream "ALRIGHT, ALREADY!" and finally partake in just what's so damned impressive or important. That's when I'm usually left in a state of utter disillusionment, a total facepalm situation, where I learn that "Young Frankenstein" is a slow, trudging affair with two laughs total rather than it being "one of the greatest comedies ever made". Yeah, how about NO???
That was what went through my mind when my hatches were batten down as a result of all the glad-handing given to this Gallhammer entity...
When it comes to where all the hype is/was coming from, it sure as shit isn't from its musical standpoint. Oh sure, there are some people out there who'll claim that their whole blackened/crust blend thing is genius and a total throwback to when that particular style was where it's at, but let's be frank about it, if only for a second. What Gallhammer does isn't essentially anything I'd consider genius or interesting. It's not even bland. It's nothing. Seriously, there's so little going on with this disc that I found myself toying with my cell phone or messing around with my dogs rather than paying attention to it while it all came oozing out of my speakers. I don't want that in any bands I'd feel the compelling need to check out; I want something that's purely attention-grabbing, if even minutely, in order for any level of enjoyment to be achieved. But "Ill Innocence" is such a blank, white void that enjoyment is pretty much impossible. Every song essentially sounds the same: slow, chugging guitar riffs with maybe two or three chord progressions total, doomy, snail's-pace drums that barely register in the beat department, and unintelligible "OOUUUGH!"s and "AAUUUGH!"s every few seconds that don't sound like anything lyrical. There are times where the tempos are a bit faster than usual, but it still doesn't make the whole affair more interesting in the least. Multiply this over one thousand times and you've got the whole of "Ill Innocence". And this is championed over more talented and realistic bands? Seriously? Are the folks out there who bleed black crusts seeing the forest for the trees (you know, the whole "they're all HOT METAL CHICKS!" thing, and their breakout role appearance in "The Misanthrope") so intently that they can't spot a lack of ability and compositional skill? Now granted, it wouldn't be fair to lump all this simply on them being an all-female group, as I've come across a few lady bands that can actually play their instruments and write good songs, but I can't help but think that it's all image at this point and the main focus for a good portion of their fan base (and in all honesty, they're not that attractive at all...), and it might be such a thick smoke screen that uninspired songs like "Blind My Eyes", "Ripper in the Gloom" and "World to be Ashes" can be overlooked the more corpse-painted T and A are shown. And if that's the case, then that's sad. Very sad.
In the end, this album sucks. Badly. When I get an album, I want to be entertained, feel the need to evoke a mental image, or be thrown for a loop, not be beaten over the head with a slab of veritable nothingness. I've once said that there's a market for everything, and there seems to be a demand for this sort of thing (both the musical style and the image portrayed), but in the future, I'll be happy never to hear the name "Gallhammer" again. Ignore.