GALLHAMMER’s last record, Ill Innocence, undoubtedly was an interesting and stimulating record of primitive black metal, crust punk, and Japanese indie rock. This former trio, now duo, brings us the equally interesting, The End.
With the departure of guitarist Mika Penetrator, the band have opted to continue without guitars. The result is the tortured screams of Vivian Slaughter, the almost-childlike shouts of Risa Reaper, loud distorted bass, and drums.
What is apparent from the opening, title track is that there is a greater doom influence. “The End” is slow, dark, nihilistic, and rather stripped down. GALLHAMMER picks up the pace through tracks two to five before they hit the breaks and return to pure funeral doom/drone territory with the record’s final two songs.
While the band do a good job playing stripped down, ugly black metal meets crust punk songs, they stand out the most when they incorporate their Japanese indie/punk rock influences. “Aberration,” “Sober,” and “Entropy” are perfect examples with Risa Reaper’s child-like shouts complimenting Vivian Slaughter’s vocals amongst the black backdrop. Unfortunately, this is the extent of this dimension to the band’s sound that they established on Ill Innocence.
At the end of the day, you want to like this record more but there is simply not enough substance to warrant such affection. The bare bones nature of The End along with the fleeting lasting impressions leave the listener feeling unsatiated and perhaps disappointed. Maybe in their own artistically twisted way, this is exactly the impression GALLHAMMER intended to leave. (Peaceville Records)