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Gallows Hymn: The Age of Decadence

In the vibrant northwestern corner of the United States, there burns a fervent flame of dark and progressive heavy metal known as Gallows Hymn. Hot off the release of their first album (2019’s The Gathering Storm) the three main members have wasted no time getting back on the horse. The Age of Decadence is the result of their creative brew, and though 2020 has offered a host of challenges to all aspects of our lives, it is good to see high quality underground metal music alive and well.

The core of Nicholas Spevak, Zach Hornung, and George Miller put a vast amount of energy and effort into their work, and once more it shows. A good place to start, ironically enough, is at the end. The album concludes with a two-part epic known as "Draculestai Part I: Order of the Dragon" and "Part II: Serpent Kingdom". The music of Gallows Hymn could just about spearhead a separate genre of storytelling metal, as the lyrics they compose are a massive part of the songs. The build-up in Part II around the 5:10 mark, which culminates in a tense guitar solo and organ interlude, results in the marching cadence of the back half of the composition. The effect on the listener is undeniable; intensity and immersion.

Growled vocals and down-tempo epics aside, Gallows Hymn is no one-trick pony. “Chiaroscuro” features a bardic clean vocal highlighted by female singing centric to the song’s chorus. Tempered with melodic strains of guitar work, the set of riffs comprising the final minute is reminiscent of the somber works of bands like Solstice (UK). Doom and epic gallantry collide, as in the jaunty “Into Woven Wilds,” which sails off into atmospherics including the sound of winds and acoustic guitars. Its return to shouted vocals, epic keys, and double-bass drumming shows that Gallows Hymn is focused on building an arc of tale-telling into their songs.

The pugnacious “Hymns to Sekhmet” conjures up the atmosphere of latter-day Rotting Christ, the sound bathed in orchestral keys beneath Miller’s growl. Fans of progressive metal with paganistic overtones will rejoice at the Eastern flavor going on and the way the melodies are interwoven throughout. The gripping guitars in the title track, which opens the record, set up this atmosphere early on in a satisfying manner. Further nods to NWOBHM-inspired doom can be found on the lovely and heavy “Son of Arrius,” which begins and carries on a melodic guitar attack that makes it one of the strongest songs on the album. The guitar soloing around the final minute is some of the most languid and beautiful playing you’ll hear �" truly heartfelt and fresh as new-fallen snow.

Though only on their second album, Gallows Hymn are planting their flag firmly onto the metal map. The Age of Decadence is a magnificent step forward for the group, and fans of bands like Primordial, Solstice, and Rotting Christ, will want to sit up and take notice.


TRACK LISTING:
  1. The Age of Decadence
  2. Son of Arrius
  3. Hymns to Sekhmet
  4. One Signed Under The Cross
  5. Intermission
  6. Into Woven Wilds
  7. Chiaroscuro
  8. Draculestei Part I: Order of the Dragon
  9. Draculestei Part II: Serpent Kingdom

Added: November 4th 2020
Reviewer: Nicholas Franco
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 559
Language: english

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