Gallows wield their instruments with such malevolence that it wouldn't be surprising to discover they also use them to brain rodents in their flat. The U.K. quintet is heavily indebted to the brutal pulse of '80s American hardcore acts like Black Flag and post-punk's jagged guitar salvos, influences they share with many American emo-core acts but administer with a fiercer bite. Frontman Frank Carter seethes vitriol of withering intensity, screeching "the hardest thing you will ever learn is to love and be loved in return" like a mad monk of actualization on the title track from their searing debut, Orchestra of Wolves. While hardcore's the main ingredient, there's plenty of additional flavor, from the schizophrenic churn of "Just Because You Sleep Next to Me Doesn't Mean You're Safe," which channels Dillinger Escape Plan, to the wiry "Will Someone Shoot that F*#cking Snake," which collides a monstrous Ministry-style break into rumbling cacophonies reminiscent of Strike Anywhere. Yet whatever their touchstones, the steely, impassioned edge Gallows invest in their music transcends their peers, prompting Epitaph's Brett Gurewitz to call it the best hardcore album since Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come. That's a little overheated, but an honest testament to Gallows' power and potential.

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