posted on 8/2011 By:
Well, that was quick.
Just a couple of years ago, the Gallhammer girls were plastered across the pages of the major glossies, preening through their eyeliner cake and Amebix cutoffs, satiating the juvenile urges of every laidless, geeky Japanophile with a forced ear for rudimentary metalpunk slop. It was a nice 'lil bit of whirlwind marketing--a cute trio of young women bashing out crusty, trendy odes to the caveman dregs of yore--and it diverted attention from the fact that their music was only passable. And barely, at that.
Fast forward to 2011, and the trio is now a duo, as guitarist Mika Penetrator has jumped ship. The remaining rhythm section was apparently unsuccessful in unearthing another waifish female with the requisite supply of bootleg Celtic Frost tees, and thus, they've decided to soldier on sans six-string. The resulting fuckery—otherwise known as The End—Is cringe-inducing at its best, eject-button-smashing at its worst, and flat-out embarrassing as a whole.
Not so much for (what remains of) Gallhammer themselves, who seem to be trying. Kinda. (More on that later.) The real embarrassment should be shouldered by our puff-peddling colleagues in the media, who exploited Gallhammer’s novelty factor for a giggle and a hopeful glance when they should've been devoting their promotional efforts to something a little less base-level and flash-in-the-pan. Instead, they wasted considerable effort in inflating the band into a pseudo-legitimate entity, saddling guys like me—who actually attempt to quantify the artistic value of a piece of music instead of merely regurgitating press releases—with crippled knuckles, clenched eyebrows, and a spleenful of Excedrin.
Pies to Peaceville's faces also; judging from the half-baked, half-assed, and half-finished vibe of this record, they've wrung some seriously anemic blood from Gallhammer’s crumbling stone.
Ah, but fuck the hype, man---what of the actual record? Well, the level of songwriting acumen and instrumental ability conveyed on The End can barely be charted. The tuneless, fraction-speed dirge of the opening title track should've never made it past the demo phase, and, frankly, it sounds like it hasn't. (The fact that it stumbles and gurgles for a full seven minutes is completely inexcusable, doom metal rulebooks be damned.) When they pick up the pace on "Rubbish CG202"—with rudimentary blasts and throat-shredding in the you're-really-not-doing-that-right-and-you're-going-to-hurt-yourself vein—eyeballs drift to the play clock and the mind begins to tug itself in more compelling directions.
These directions do not include that of "Aberration," the crux of which seems to be the usage of a rat terrier as a wah pedal while bashing on two or three root notes. As for the remainder of the The End? It's a near-impossible slog.
Is it rendered as such by of the band's total lack of dynamics, sense of melody, or ability to craft a compelling composition? Is it because, in spite of these obvious facts, they chose to let the final two tracks sprawl themselves over an utterly agonizing twenty-two minutes? Is it the fact that these girls are complete fucking amateurs with a record deal and a level of name recognition that they’ve done next to nothing to acquire on the basis of actual merit?
Yeah, yeah, meritocracy is dead...that horse has been flogged. But even still, underground heavy metal is/was generally considered to be above such shenanigans. The End is a stark reminder that even we—the alleged elite—are embarrassingly prone to the vapid gimmickry and talentless hackery that plagues popular culture. Before we so vehemently (and wastefully) deride the emptiness of populist drivel, it would be prudent to clean the artery-clogging bullshit from our collective windshield first. If you want to gorge yourself on this inept nonsense, go right ahead; but check your credibility at the door before you devour this nutrition-free, factory-bred ration of clubfooted cuteness.
The End, indeed.
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