Gallhammer - Gloomy Lights review
01. Endless Nauseous Days
03. Tomurai: May Our Father Die
04. Beyond The Hate Red
05. Lost My Self
06. State Of Gloom
07. Aloof And Proud Silence
08. Color Of Coma
Gallhammer are an all-female Japanese trio, and their bandname is a rather blatant clue concerning one of their biggest influences. You guessed it - the infamous Hellhammer must be one of these ladies' favourite bands, and the wonderfully primitive approach of this collection of compositions is sheer bliss for those of us with a love for that style. However, this album is far more than a mere Hellhammer tribute - there are also elements of Burzum and even U.K. Crust music to be found here, and overall there is an oppressive, otherworldly atmosphere which makes this band stand out from the crowd.
The raw musicianship is definitely beneficial to the impact of music like this. Gallhammer use repetitive, simplistic riffs and standard yet effective drumming to create memorable songs that make for compulsive listening. The bass is actually very audible in the mix, and plays quite an important role in most songs, particularly the eerie Aloof and Proud Silence. The pace usually remains either slow or midtempo, certainly working in the favour of such doom-laden songs as Tomurai: May Our Father Die - which also features an almost melodic yet very sinister chorus. This music isn't difficult to compose note-for-note, but it isn't often that you hear it played as convincingly as this. The only song I'm not so keen on is Color Of Coma, which is rather overlong at 10 minutes and doesn't really go anywhere.
One of the main things I like about this album is the vocal style. In fact, the vocals vary throughout - there's some almost clean chanting about 2 minutes into Endless Nauseous Days, some shrieking laughter in Color Of Coma, and generally the vocals switch from croaks, rasps, screams and growls, conveying a rather unsettling feel in a way that isn't often found on more conventional extreme Metal releases.
Gloomy Lights is a very promising full-length debut. Of course, you won't like this if you favour theory-drenched technicality over actual emotion and dark atmosphere - but I recommend this to anyone who yearns for Metal which has an obscure, creepy edge. I believe that Gallhammer have been signed by Peaceville now, so I'll look forward to hearing their next release.
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