Epitaph Records Photo
Gallows play an all ages show at The Plaza Club with This Is Hell and Cancer Bats on Sunday.
Officially declared the world’s loudest band, Gallows are making a racket.
Guitarists Laurent ‘Lags’ Barnard and Steph Carter recently plugged into a stack of amplifiers near Birmingham, U.K. and cranked out 132.5 decibels of noise.
“We had to wear ear plugs and ear protectors that look like strong earmuffs,” said Barnard. “Holding the guitar you don’t feel much (in your hands), but you can feel the vibrations in your heart.”
That sound may not have echoed around the world, but word about this quintet has. Squeals from British hype machine NME joined nods from seminal U.S. punks Black Flag and Bad Religion, including a record deal from Epitaph records. All this from a group that thinks current punk sucks.
“A lot of time I’ll see pop bands wearing a Misfits T-shirt. (Misfits have) become more of a clothing label than a band,” he said. “It pisses us off — (those people) do not know what that shirt means … It’s like a fashion line.”
A band as unapologetically aggressive as Gallows, who spent just £1,000 to make a record, doesn’t have much of a chance to hit the mainstream. Their punk combines technical riffs, the chaos of old school hardcore and a head-nodding hook. Lyrics about social issues and the straightedge lifestyle of brothers Frank and Steph Carter harkens to D.C.’s scene. But fans have embraced their sound — and Barnard can’t say why.
“A lot of bands we’re hearing just rehashed early hardcore from the ’80s — it’s kind of just blatant copying. We’ll throw in intricate riffs, mix it up a little,” he said. “Music is going a lot more mainstream — really far — and bands are spending tons of money producing albums that are pop really, but dressed up in punk … Music is supposed to be about what you play … It shouldn’t cost you lots of money.”
Rob McMahon is a freelance writer. A graduate of UBC’s Journalism program, he contributes to Metro and other publications. Top music memories include a road trip to Coachella and catching Lollapalooza ‘95.