Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Gallhammer: The End (2011)


My first encounter with Japanese all-girl black/doom two-piece Gallhammer was with 2007's Ill Innocence, and it did not leave a good impression. But some people with respectable opinions really like them, so I thought I'd give it another shot.

EndIf you've ever heard the band before, The End will give you no surprises. They still have a lo-fi aesthetic and very simple songs, with some played fast and punky, but most as dirges. Bassist Vivian Slaughter's evil growls are just as impressive as ever, too. Unfortunately, drummer Risa Reaper's squeaky vocals are present here as well. I'm not prepared to say that weird J-pop/J-punk (or whatever it is) vocal has no place in metal, but Gallhammer certainly hasn't found it. But more importantly, the songs are just as boring and confusing as ever.

The title track works just fine to get things started on a low-tempo, but then "Rubbish CG202" is basically the same song, sped up. "Aberration" sounds like the worst entry in a high school talent show that has no winners: It has no discernible riffs and the two vocal styles fight for attention. "Sober" is better, almost finding a place for the squeaks in the simple, short doom track. "Entropy G35" sounds like doomy punk, which I could see someone else liking. But then they end on two over-long dirges with almost no variation, the saxophone noises on "108=7/T-NA" doing little to improve it.

All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that this band has made their career based on who they are--a couple of Japanese girls in extreme metal--rather than on the music they make. Then again, some people really like it. Maybe I missed the point.

The Verdict: I cannot recommend this album to anyone except the most die-hard Gallhammer fans. It offers nothing new, and is quite possibly worse than their last album. I give it 1 out of 5 stars.


  1. Gallhammer is definitely trying to be Hellhammer. I think their efforts are reasonably successful, although Coffins is still markedly better. I don't care much for Risa Reaper's vocals either, although I did think they were used effectively on their last album.

    By the way, still waiting on something on Destroyer 666 and I see you have Coffins in your widget.

  2. I listened to Cold Steel for an Iron Age and I loved it. I also really like Mortuary in Darkness. But I try not to simply do a review for an older album, unless it's really unknown. I'll be waiting for the right place to talk about those, and I think I know when the Coffins one will be (probably very late in the year, as part of a very long series I've begun to work on). I'm not sure when I'll get to talk about Destroyer 666 though. Maybe I'll do something on the best band names? I don't know yet.

  3. I actually like Gallhammer, though they are by no means a favorite of mine. At first, I wasn't too impressed with them either, but over time I grew to really like them. It's simplistic and extremely low quality, but I do think there's some real feeling there. I will definitely have to keep an eye out for this album.