Release DetailsLABEL The End
RELEASED ON 11/27/2007
Gallows Gallery (Reissue)
posted on 12/2007 By:
My experience with Tokyo’s Sigh is spotty, but I can see why staunch black metallers have been disappointed by the band’s refusal to return to their roots. Instead, the five-piece continue to craft albums in an experimental, avant-garde vein as evidenced by their latest record Hangman’s Hymn, which, though it was their debut for The End, was actually their seventh full-length. True to the Sigh MO, it’s quite different from its predecessor Gallows Gallery, and the story behind it is interesting. Originally intended for Century Media, the label expressed disinterest when they learned it was black metal-free, so the band unleashed it via Candlelight/Baphomet despite its subpar production. Remastered by legendary producer James Murphy and offering new artwork along with several bonus tracks, The End version definitely sounds better than the 2005 recording, but is still lacking in certain regards because it’s a bit on the thin, airy side. To be fair though, the quintet hasn’t ever been the punchiest outfit, so perhaps the production faults can and should be overlooked.
True to form, however, GG is a veritable smorgasbord containing various instruments, styles, and vibes. Rambunctious opener “Pale Monument” serves as a showcase for leader Mirai Kawashima who contributes arresting clean vocals, impressive organ solos, and synthesizer accompaniment. Also upbeat is follower “In a Drowse,” which features a guitar solo from Dark Tranquillity’s Niklas Sundin. In fact, Gallows Gallery is littered with guest performers from Gus G. (Firewind) to Killjoy (Necrophagia) to Gunface (The Red Chord) to Metatron (Meads of Asphodel) to Paul Groundwell (Thine) to Bruce Lamont (Yakuza). Returning to the material at hand, the Middle Eastern portions of “The Enlightenment Day” are excellent, while the Estradasphere-sounding interlude “The Tranquilizer Song” is quite solid for what it is, though there are a few tracks (“Confession to be Buried,” “Midnight Sun,” “Silver Universe,” “Messiahplan”) that are incredibly catchy and engaging. The sweeping “Gavotte Grim” – the original title of Gallows Gallery – is a mid-paced downer, especially its electronica-based end, as is the curiously-titled outro “-.”
The bonus tracks are naturally secondary to the core material, but prove intriguing nevertheless. Two versions of “The Tranquilizer Song” appear – the “(David Harrow Mix)” and the “(David Harrow Remix Outtake)” – in addition to “Pale Monument (Harsh Vocal Version),” “In a Drowse (Demo 2003),” “Messiahplan (Gunface Alternate Guitar Solo Take),” “Jazzy Outtake 1,” and “Jazzy Outtake 2.” The different renditions are cool to hear, but are otherwise merely a passing fancy, as are the outtakes.
Similar to what The End did when they signed Novembers Doom – re-releasing their previous full-length with bonus content – the 2007 edition of Gallows Gallery is obviously the one to purchase for the aficionado who has yet to obtain it. Needless to say, Sigh would drastically alter their sound for the thrashy, carnival-esque Hangman’s Hymn, but this remains a worthy effort from such a quirky Japanese troupe. And considering their penchant for change, the only thing we know for sure about the next full-length is that its title will begin with the letter S since their official, major installments spell out their moniker.
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