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Simplistic Black Metal + Punk = Bone Awl? - 30%

TheStormIRide, October 12th, 2012

Bone Awl is one of those bands that you either love with undying passion or hate with seething rage. Their mixture of extremely simplistic punk rock with extremely simplistic black metal tends to strike the same nerve that gets hit when opponents and proponents of Ildjarn clash. “But wait Storm, this review is for Galloping Shadow not Bone Awl or Ildjarn! Lolololz. Start talking about Galloping Shadow!” Don't get your panties in a bunch or fall off the seat all butt hurt, I'm getting there. Bone Awl has two members, the biblically named “He Who Crushes Teeth” and “He Who Gnashes Teeth”.

He Who Crushes Teeth decided to start a new band, without the help of He Who Gnashes Teeth. The result was Raspberry Bulbs: a band that mixes extremely simplistic punk rock with extremely simplistic black metal. Because his tooth buddy started a new band without him, He Who Gnashes Teeth retaliated and made a band without He Who Crushes Teeth. The retaliatory band is called Galloping Shadow: a band that mixes extremely simplistic punk rock with extremely simplistic black metal. See, I told you I was getting to the point. Sometimes the genealogy of bands can become extremely convoluted. Now re-read that paragraph to make sure it sinks in. You need to remember this background information, because the next step for the respective tooth clan is to go all Varg and Euronymous on us and clean house.

If you've listened to Bone Awl or Raspberry Bulbs, then please read no further, as you already know what Galloping Shadow is all about. As stated, Galloping Shadow takes punk and black metal and merges them into one. Unlike other bands attempting this merger, such as Kvelertak, Galloping Shadow stays completely lo-fi. So lo-fi, in fact, that I believe former LLN bands are suing He Who Gnashes Teeth for intellectual infringement. The guitars have a very bassy sound, similar to the sound on Ildjarn's “Son of the Northstar” EP. The drums are distant and sound like they were recorded in a trash can. The vocals, while to the front of the mix, sound like the tooth gnasher is singing through a wet washcloth.

From the start the guitars are fast picked power chords. It actually sounds like a street punk band's guitar work, such as Blanks 77 and The Casualties and the like, only slightly sped up. The guitars never reach the trem picked intensity that Bone Awl gets into every now and then, opting instead to stay in punk realm. The drums bang out a relatively sterile rock beat in the background. There may be some double bass here and there, but it's so muddy that it's hard to tell what's tom and snare rolls and what's double bass running. Occasionally, the drums go into a faster blast beat territory, but it's pretty infrequent. The bass is pretty much nonexistent, but it's not a problem because the guitar lines sound enough like bass to fill the void. Galloping Shadow's only attachment to the metal world is the vocals. The vocals are raspy, deep and shouted. Wait a minute! These vocals sound exactly the same as on Bone Awl releases. The same squelched shouting and hoarse grumbles are here as well.

Don't just sit there and say that I'm hating on this because of poor production, because that's not it. Anybody who has perused my older reviews knows that I don't mind muddy or lo-fi production in my black metal. There is just nothing different here from what tooth gnasher's other band is doing. Galloping Shadow is simplistic punk with a black metal singer that sounds surprisingly similar to Bone Awl. If you love lo-fi black metal punk, then this is for you. If you you've never heard this style and want to hear lo-fi black metal punk, just listen to Bone Awl, as they've already played this style to death. Galloping Shadow brings nothing new, period.