Gallows High are a quintet hailing from Leicester who made it to the quarter finals in the Metal to the Masses competition in 2017. Their musical genre is described as alt-rock and their self-titled debut EP is available now.
‘The Clock Is Ticking’ opens up the EP with a fierce intro that starts off well, leading into the vocals of Emma Wale. She has a nice tone to her voice though the track isn’t really catching my attention though the bridge and choral sections and the missing hook is a bit of a let down. Vocally, there seems to be a slight strain midway through.
Musically, it’s not a bad track but the sudden drop in tempo and then the hit of drums seems a little odd to me, the guitars from Jake Felstead and Matt Hanz are the best thing about this track. ‘Emptiness’ again begins with a great intro, the tone is darker, the bass heavier and the grungy feel to the track is a welcome entity. Wale’s vocals are strong yet slightly strained at times, however, I can’t fault the guitars at all; perfect delivery and a great set of riffs throughout really saves the track.
‘Nuke Juice’ starts off with another good intro, heavy drums, deep rumbling bass, then vocals kick in and the drums from Josh Chenery take on a more frenetic pace that seems to throw everything out of time, the instruments don't seem to be cohesive with the vocals and everything seems just a bit off kilter, leaving me with a very baffled and perplexed look upon my face. There are some really great duel solos from Hanz and Felstead, but it’s overshadowed heavily by the offbeat and slightly out of time drum section. Emma Wale’s vocals at times are good, strong and clearly delivered with a really great tone but there are occasions where Wale seem to hit a painful high and her vocals seem somewhat strained which just doesn’t sit well with my ears at all. Tweaks to the vocals and maybe the use of a click track would help keep everything in time and sound much more cohesive throughout.
Coming to the last track on the album ‘Crawling Back to Heaven’, the song begins with a really beautiful intro, and I have to say if I was reviewing this EP on intro’s alone then I’d be super happy with all of the intro’s, but unfortunately, I’m not looking at just the intro on each track. ‘Crawling Back to Heaven’ has some gentle vocals from Wale that seem to suit her tone and range a lot more, slightly over stretched at times but not as much so as the previous tracks. Again, on this track we are treated to the guitar riffage of Hanz and Felstead that really do propel the tracking snatch it from the depths. The bass from Mike Hadland has a groove laden rhythm that rumbles away in the background at a perfect level for the ambient tone of the track. It’s a lighter song, gentler than the previous offerings on the EP and musically it’s the most cohesive track on the EP that delivers the most promise for Gallows High and their future endeavours.
As a whole the riffs are what make this EP for me. Hanz and Felstead have great musicianship and really excel in their ability. For a debut EP it’s a foundation to build on, though I do think they need to find their style/sound and settle on that, focus and hone in on what they want to deliver as there seems to be a mix of classic meets grunge meets pop within each track that stops the solid delivery that they need to hook people in.
Gallows High are:
Emma Wale - Vocals
Jake Felstead - Guitar
Matt Hanz - Guitar
Mike Hadland - Bass
Josh Chenery - Drums
Find out more from Gallows High at the following links: