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CD REVIEW

Gallows “Orchestra of Wolves”

by Simon Bartz

“Mayday, Mayday/The captain lost control again/The f***ing ship is breaking up/We’re going down in flames” is from Gallows’ “Abandon Ship.’ The catchy, brain- gnawing melody is catapulted into hardcore heaven by Frank Carter’s ferocious vocal assault. Maybe he’s shouting about the ailing U.K. music scene, and Gallows are certainly a shot in its arm.

Although Gallows’ punk-rock template is nothing new, it’s very hard, and makes Minor Threat sound almost chilled-out. When a keyboard emerges it’s massacred by guitar noise and apocalyptic screaming — the whistling-like hook on “Will Someone Shoot that F***ing Snake” sounds like angry bull elephants rather than the indie-pop of Peter Bjorn and John.

Carter topped the music weekly NME’s Cool List for 2007 — not bad for someone who’s as skinny as soccer player Peter Crouch, but half the size, ginger, and writes lyrics that seem like they were penned by a 11-year-old virgin who’s started looking at girls and thinks it’s cool to swear. But he boasts tons of tattoos. What really makes him cool is the music, his honesty (he admitted Oasis — and not Black Flag — was his favorite band) and a refreshing straight-edge stance — no drinking or drugs. But the most cool thing is that this debut makes it clear hardcore punk is alive and kicking hard — and that an attack on the flaccid rock mainstream has begun.