Orchestra Of Wolves

Yes, yes, ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ has been out for ages. But since that day, fortune has smiled on Gallows in extreme ways. Their debut now amounts to a year zero for, if not music in general, then certainly British hardcore. Thing is, ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ is increasingly beloved of people who would normally prefer a bout of scrofula than a date with that genre – their prejudices blown away by the sheer force of nature that this band whip up live.

Gallows were so easily the toast of South By Southwest it was embarrassing. And while singer Frank Carter laughed off suggestions of a mega bucks deal with Warners, that’s exactly what happened. Predictably, the album’s been reissued with a few extras and a big marketing spend. So this is where we shit on Gallows’ hardcore ethics and find a new genre to revive, right?

Wrong. First, this is simply too good an album to be left in an ideological ghetto; and second, the re-release solves their intrinsic problem, of how recorded music could ever match up to the shows. Disc Two offers loosened-up BBC radio session versions of six album tracks that, if anything, better the originals. Then there’s two all-new tracks, which expand their blueprint without ever spoiling it. ‘Sick Of Feeling Sick’ intriguingly points their mast toward melodic radio rock and ‘Black Heart Queen’ crushes it tighter. It’s for all these reasons that ‘…Wolves’ makes NME history by getting a higher mark just months after being reviewed. It rounds off with a cover of ‘Nervous Breakdown’ by Black Flag. There’s never been a UK punk band to hold a candle to them. Gallows could be it.

Dan Martin