Gallery-Anno Exitium …   2 comments

Gallery hail from LA, USA, and I first came across them back in the days when Myspace was actually happening and not the festering pile of dog turds it is today. Shortly after hearing a couple of their tunes, I got hold of their 2009 demo tape and their vicious brand of sludge blew me away.

Moving forward a couple of years and we are greeted with ‘Anno Exitium’  which is their  new CD/Internet release and it delivers an hour or so of heavy metallic crusty sludge and doom. The CD was recorded in November of 2010 and within seconds of pressing play, you know you are in for a hellish, groove-packed roller-coaster ride of doomy riffage, brutally infectious bass lines and angry vocals.

The opening track, ‘Reflections at the End of Time’ has all of these elements and more. The bass lines are enough on their own to get your foot tapping and head-nodding but add to that great guitar riffing and the gruff vocals and what can I say, this is some of the best sludge since Dopefight released their Buds album in 2010.

On first listen, you can compare them to Eyehategod, Sourvein and Weedeater but Gallery make more infectious tunes than all those bands put together. Of course needless to say the three bands I just mentioned are three of my all time favorite bands but I don’t think they make music as irresistably catchy as this.

It is all about the power of the riff but Gallery have a real strength in their songwriting that makes their tunes impossible to get out of your head. Check out the little riff/tempo change that occurs 3/4 in to ‘Reflections at the End of Time’ for just one of the remarkably ear-catching, remarkably head-bangable moments. I am talking about one small section of a song but this album is full of these kind of classic metallic moments.

Note the word ‘metallic,’ this band is a crusty ‘sludge-metal’ act but the emphasis is on the metal here. Second track, ‘Man-Made God’ is another example of a great blend of swampy sludgy rhythms and metallic crunchy riff-work and again it’s incredibly catchy. This track which pushes 10 minutes in length has trad-doom sections, sludge-metal brutality and heavy-metal accessibility all rolled into one. The guitar playing from Chris Castro and Robert Rivas is exceptionally good, not just mindless riffing either, there is some fine melodies as well. Check out ‘Countdown’ for a fine blend of different metallic genres played with melody, they even add a thrash-metal section along the way but at the other end of the spectrum is a beautiful, mellow guitar section that opens and closes the track. None of the songs here stick with the same formula, tempo or feel but they are all seamlessly constructed, ‘War Drums’ is another example of finely tuned song craftmanship, it is aggressive but somehow wonderfully assessable. Gallery have a hardcore edge similar to early Amebix but mix it up with old-school metallic, chugging guitar riffs and melodies – it is a sonic onslaught but it is non-stop headbanging goodness.

‘SoulKrusher’ is another tune that is as good as anything on the album, make no mistake this is a very consistently enjoyable album. Again like most tunes here it is a mostly a mid-tempo energetic crusher. ‘Immortal Blade’ is different in as much it has a riff laced with what sounds like breaking glass or slashing knives depending on how you hear it, either way it sounds great and it is extremely effective. It breaks into a twisting, gyrating riff that is pure metallic ear-candy and when they hit the gas for a mid to high-speed thrash section that takes the song to its demise, it is riveting stuff. ‘Know No Wrong’ starts with a spoken-word sound-bite (there is several of them on the album) and wouldn’t you know it, another killer dose of metallic, crunchy riffage is unleashed. They have subtle speed-up and slow-down tempo changes which is one of the endearing elements that this band has in seemingly endless supply and this is another factor that plays such an important role in Gallery being so damn infectious.

‘House of Cards’ doesn’t let you down either, the opening riff to this track is mind-blowing and at loud volumes is so gargantuan it will throw you across the room. It is kind of like being on one of those extreme carnival rides, it turns you stomach inside out but the adrenalin rush makes it all worthwhile. ‘Anno Exitium’ ends on the very appropriately named ‘Waltz of Damnation’ which is another face-melting slab of doomy, crusty, metallic sludge yet infectious and then it is all over and you just want to play it all over again. This is back to back, song for song greatness. I mention British sludgers Dopefight before because I think they are the only other band that can compete with Gallery in the mid-tempo crust, sludge-metal stakes. This album is exceptionally good in every department. The production is just right, I can’t find a fault there and the louder you crank this, the better it sounds. I mention the guitarists already but bassist/vocalist Alex LiCausi also does an incredible job here. His vocals are spot on, aggressive but melodic and his bass playing shines on every track and drummer Jon Lopez is a monster behind the kit.

What is even more remarkable is Gallery are offering you  ‘Anno Exitium’  for free or with a name your price deal from their bandcamp page. I think it is awesome they are doing this but if any album deserves to make a few $$$$ it is this one. I will finish this review by saying this is essential listening for not only sludge-metal fans but for fans of metallic, catchy metal especially if you like it crusty, emotional, and with a lot of grit and you got to love that artwork. Click the links below, download and burn it to a CD because this needs to be turned-up on loud on your home ‘stereo system of death.’ Finally, congrats to Gallery for making this incredible piece of work…………………9.5/10

Download Anno Exitium Here
Gallery @ Bandcamp
Gallery @  Myspace


Posted June 3, 2011 by doommantia in Gallery

2 responses to “Gallery-Anno Exitium …

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  1. This is truly a BADASS sludge monster from HELL !!!!! Everyone should line up and scoop up this FREE download. See you there!!!

  2. Catchy Sludge?! Unbelievable! This is so good! Thanks for yet another awesome reccomendation.


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