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Needs more bile - 62%

zeingard, February 18th, 2008

The majority of you out there should, by now at least, have some grasp on my general attitude towards females in metal and the tendency for their presence to be nothing more than a gimmick or commercial angle for the rest of the band to use as a means to play shit songs but still have all you mongoloids out there throwing bundles of cash at them because there's a set of tits in your fat faces. There are few exceptions to the whole 'female + average, limp dicked metalhead = money' equation such as Jo Bench of Bolt Thrower fame, that chick in Diablo Swing Orchestra and Wata in Boris, maybe because all these bands actually play decent metal/music and thus have no need to wave their female members about in minimal amounts of clothing in the way that Arch Enemy and In This Moment deem to be of the utmost important. Gallhammer up the ante by having an band composed entirely of girls, that's three sets of tits for you to stare at! Realistically this is reduced to two sets because the drum set will obscure the anatomy of the other member of the band, but the point of the matter is that they're going to be in close proximity to you at a live show and that's the important part right?

Gallhammer don't really sell the sex however and that's reassuring to some degree, in fact they seem to very much enjoy giving out the vibe of being punk rather than metal. Image projection aside, their music is about half way decent; sometimes they go for the whole very stripped down doom metal approach with lots of Varg-esque screams, albeit with an obvious feminine edge to them. Other times they crust punk it up a notch which tends to be where the album dips in quality at times, exceptions being "Killed by the Queen" and "Speed of Blood" which actually nail the punk sound down properly, rather than letting it hobble about with a floorboard fixed to its foot. Of course they manage to cock it up with the other songs; those high pitched vocals in "Blind My Eyes" really detract from the overall atmosphere that I can only assume the band wanted to convey and had established with their morose and dark first track "At the Onset of the Age of Despair". "Delirium Daydream" also has distracting female vocals, thankfully they aren't as high pitched as those in the previous track and merely sound like she's strung out on PCP or something, rambling about clouds or blenders or something.

The slower songs are where the band come heavily into contention, they aren't exactly instrumental virtuoso's by any stretch of the imagination so you're more or less forced to focus on the atmosphere and song structure which is where the band sort of breakdown faster than dropping sodium in ethanol. "Song of Fall" does that whole start off quiet, use distorted three chord riff, quiet part and three chord riff again shit that passes you by without a second glance. "At the Onset of the Age of Despair" works well for an eight minute first track, of which there are few, at least outside the drone/doom genre; its atmosphere is constructed via the dirge-like riffs combined with Vivian's trademark rasped out and occasionally distressed vocals. It sort of peaks in the second half with the guitarist slowly moving down the fretboard before deciding to drone out the same chord for awhile and let the bass step in to drive the song for awhile, which works to some degree and is an interesting attempt by these amateur-ish musicians. The bass-driven "Slog" is oddly charming, maybe it's all that drone doom I keep listening to that's polluting my once amphetamine-esque brain patterns. The fact this song actually takes it's time and then builds up into this section of unusual choir like voices flitting around the background with growls on top and droning guitars which suddenly bursts out with some crust punk aggression is a sign of using ones song structures to their full potential. "Long Scary Dream" does the whole bass-driven build-up fairly well with all the hopeless cries and melancholic riffery, it's another example of simple song structure put to good use and shows a lot of promise in the band.

Gallhammer could probably be an above average black/doom band if they dropped all the silliness vocals and worked on pumping out more depressingly sombre songs in the vein of "Slog" and "At the Onset of the Age of Despair", perhaps throwing in the odd crust punk interlude as some sort of perverse salute to sludge kings Eyehategod? As cool as it would be to watch them reach such lofty heights, for now we'll just have see if this band can maintain their integrity through it all.