Friday, August 16, 2019

review: Gallows Pole

Gallows Pole
This Is Rock
Pure Rock Records
30th August 2019
Gallows Pole is a long-standing heavy rock band from Austria. Metal Archives shows that they originally formed in 1973 (maybe they took their name from the 1970 Led Zeppelin song?) and have had periods of inactivity. They have a bunch of albums, and this is the 2019 version of the band. Reliable for a style reminiscent of the heavy rock of the middle and late 1980s, with a guitar tone in the same general area as stadium rock/metal bands of that time. The music is midtempo as a general rule, very friendly to the ear, especially for fans of radio rock that would like that clearer guitar style that is not super overdriven and extremely distorted. The listener hears what is happening on the guitar and things never go crazy and fast, just a comfortable, chill heavy rock pace. The same is true for the drumming. The band prefers simple, direct rhythms that go big on the beat, persistently on the beat, always on the beat, and never goes into crazy, show-off fills or drum solos. Of course, the songs are traditional with the structure of verses and choruses. The singing is melodic, and without screaming type of singing, but rather midrange male voices. There seems to be a couple of male voices or tones. In addition, on this album the band has female vocals, and now Gallows Pole has a cool, new dimension to the songs. It would be good for them to keep this combination of singing continuing on future albums.
This music in the U.S. would be appreciated by the older fans of rock, all those classic rock bands. Gallows Pole sounds like 1980s heavy rock, but in the riffs and other things, listeners will notice a bit of 1970s. For instance, on the song “You Got Me” they have handclapping, or in the song “Daylight,” particularly the beginning, sounds reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” with a contemporary sound. Another instance is the song “Point of No Return” which has a main riff a bit reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Megalomania” at 3:20 when the older song’s cowbell signals the change of tempo. A perspective to understand Gallows Pole would be to consider the way some New Wave British Heavy Metal bands sound today, especially the ones that have slowed down their heavy metal to a midtempo-style of heavy rock in which the classic rock that inspired them is now manifesting a lot more.

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