Gallhammer - _The Dawn of..._
(Peaceville, 2007)
by: Pedro Azevedo (6.5 out of 10)
Peaceville's latest signing is a Japanese female trio, reportedly formed in Tokyo in 2003. _The Dawn of..._ is intended as an introduction to their work so far, collecting demo and rehearsal tracks and a live DVD. Before you jump to any conclusions, bear this in mind: the promo sheet indicates Hellhammer and Amebix as their main influences, so expect something between black metal and crust punk.

While the sound quality is far from deplorable initially, there is an unmistakably raw edge to the whole thing -- and that's besides the very hoarse rasped or grunted vocals that constitute the music's only form of verbal expression (in Japanese, though it is rather difficult to tell). You also get dirty mid-paced riffs and drums that match said vocals very well. No, it's not pretty, and it's all in line with the mixture of genres stated above.

As the album advances, it becomes apparent that only the first few tracks have the required instrumental strength for their style. The vocals become increasingly overbearing later on, and the songs less interesting. With the deteriorating sound quality and waning interest taken into account, the CD would perhaps have been better off left as an EP; still, it does its job as an introduction to what this band is all about before their full-length debut comes out. Their combination of styles comes across as somewhat unusual in the end, and while it's hardly revolutionary, paired with their committed delivery it does tend to keep you listening.

In order to elevate the value of this mostly retrospective package, a DVD featuring a collection of live songs is also included. Those who will enjoy the CD should find this live section interesting, while anyone left unimpressed by the CD is unlikely to be won over by the DVD. Still a thoughtful addition in any case.

Overall, this introductory release doesn't seem capable of leaving hordes of fans salivating for the full-length, but it does give listeners good value if they like Gallhammer's style, and it does provoke some curiosity about what's to come from them.


(article published 5/4/2007)

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