Gallows break out of England brandishing a new, scary kind of punk rock.
They're young, they're brash, they're brimming with confidence and sure that if they do their damnedest, they're going to set the punk rock world on fire and inspire the purging burns needed to reinvigorate growth in the scene.
If you think you've heard this song before, you have. The chorus usually goes "you'll forget about them in a year," though everyone swears that this time it'll be different. But mark my words, Gallows is different. There's a different kind of swagger afoot here, a nastier bit of cough medicine. From where I sit, it begins and ends with Frank Carter, who's quite possibly fronting the best and most important English punk band since the Sex Pistols.
"I think I am," says Carter confidently, aware of what the comparison entails. "That's a big accolade right there. It doesn"t get much bigger than that. Sex Pistols are history.
"There's an enormous amount of pressure, and an enormous amount of responsibility. There are people that I don't even know and will probably never meet, they look at my band and they think it's so important and it gives them so much inspiration and so much energy and the last thing they want us to do is let them down, you know?"
Maybe that's what makes Carter, and Gallows, different. They care. They actually get that they're not a standalone entity in this thing called punk rock, but rather its future. It's not as fired, righteous and holy a thing as saying that as Gallows go, punk goes, but those in the know are already aware that
the Watford five-piece might not only symbolize the beginning of the end, but also the beginning of a new beginning.
A WARPED KIND OF EXPERIENCE
This summer, Gallows has been tearing up Warped Tour stages all across North America. Their stage times have varied, but lately they've been up early. In years past, I've heard bands bellyache to high heaven about this, but for Carter, the "when" doesn't much matter; to play's the thing.
"It's 10:30 in the morning, and I'm about to play a fucking show," he says, undaunted. "We're going to get up there - we've just got woken up - and we're going to fucking destroy it, because that's all we know. We like to set the bar. Whatever time we play [we want to] make sure that whoever's there watching, the next band they see, they'll be disappointed. That"s why we're here."
Sources have confirmed this. Gallows is the it-band of this year's tour, the one that everyone, including all the other bands, don't want to miss. For Carter, who credits much of Gallows' success to his straight-edge lifestyle, this equals the ultimate high: "Seeing bands that you've loved and respected your whole life coming out to see you and saying that you smashed it, and they really love your band, and they love what you're doing - there's nothing better than that."
THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET
"No one cares enough anymore" is Carter's impassioned indictment of the music world's current state. "People were writing music not for themselves, but for what they thought people wanted to hear, and it shouldn't be about that. It should never have been about that. The whole point and reason behind Gallows was that we were the band that was so sick of music being stale, you know, music that wasn't fun, wasn't exciting, wasn't dangerous anymore."
And there it is: danger. It's funny to think that music can be dangerous, but punk rock used to be. It was about anarchy, rebellion, disobedience - an ugly, angry voice screaming for change. If Gallows has its say, punk rock might yet return there. "[When it started], if you were a punk, you were dangerous, you know? You were a nasty bit of work, and very few people wanted to even talk to you, let alone like you. They were scared of what you were and what you stood for. And that's exactly what we love about punk."
It's in this interpretation of what punk is supposed to be that the Gallows ethos sneaks out. Call it a salvo, call it a warning, call it whatever you want. Just stand up and pay attention, because Carter and his mates are coming, and they've got a message for you:
"We're here to make people realize that if there's gonna be music, in whatever genre it wants to be, it has to be fucking good. There's no more of this coasting, no more fucking about, no more getting by just because of the way you look. If you want to be in a band, you've got to give 400 per cent every single night.
"You've got to keep up with Gallows."