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Gallows End- Nemesis Divine

Gallows End
Nemesis Divine
by Mike Novak at 30 August 2010, 4:08 PM

There has been an increasing resurgence as of late of bands playing Heavy Metal. I often call it “straightforward Heavy Metal” but you’ll also hear terms like “80’s Metal,” “Classic Metal” and “Old School Metal.” Whatever you call it, it features only a few straightforward riffs per song, clean and often catchy singing and shredding guitar solos. When this formula is implemented successfully, this style is among my favorites. But with so many bands doing this relatively clear-cut approach, it is really difficult to find a band that sticks out. Sure, bands like WHITE WIZZARD are in the middle of their 15 minutes of fame, but while they are admittedly fun there are far better bands out there.

One of these bands is Sweden’s GALLOWS END. They originally started out as a one-man band by guitarist/vocalist Thord Klarström, who recorded a demo in 2008. Since then, the band has filled out, with all of the members being relative newcomers to the scene.

As mentioned earlier, the musical style is straightforward Heavy Metal, a good comparison would be to fellow Swedes WOLF. Thord Klarström’s vocals remind me a lot of Brian Thomas’ from HALLOWEEN. The guitars are thick and chunky and there is some great dual rhythm guitar that really adds power to certain sections of the songs. The lead work, while not mindblowingly technical, is competent and suits the songs well.

After a spoken intro (which should have been a separate track, in my opinion) “Nemeis Divine” kicks off the album the way that opening songs should. It is heavy and speedy, but memorable enough to stick in and create a positive initial impression. In fact, the songwriting on this entire album is very strong. The songs may seem a bit formulaic (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo etc) but they are done so well it is hard to complain. “Soul Collector” and “Kingdom of the Damned” are also speedy and actually top the opener, the choruses are just so well done. The guitars, especially in the rhythm aspect, are just so well done.

I think the slower songs, like “Set the World in Flames,” are slightly inferior to the faster ones. The guitar riffs on these songs just do not grab me like I would expect. The tempo of the album goes back and forth between the mid-paced and the faster songs. “Nemesis Divine” is a bit top-heavy, but that is not really a slight, it only speaks to just how good the first half is. There are still plenty of good songs in the second half, “The End” being one that sticks out in particular. I found the epic, “Riders of the North,” to be a bit underwhelming, though. It is like they took one of their normal-length songs and stretched it out. The chorus is disappointing and there are no surprises like an epic, shredding extended solo section or numerous riff changes to justify its length.

So while it is not perfect, “Nemesis Divine” is a fine debut. It is not often these days that I hear a band playing this type of music that can actually pull it off without it sounding gimmicky, and GALLOWS END does just that. I look forward to hearing the evolution of their sound, but for now I am content to bang my head to “Nemesis Divine.”

4 Star Rating

  1. Nemesis Divine (Trial of the Gods)
  2. Soul Collector
  3. Kingdom of the Damned
  4. No Return
  5. The Curse
  6. Set the World in Flames
  7. Not Your Own
  8. Different Eyes
  9. The End
  10. The Unborn Flag
  11. Storm of Fate
  12. Riders of the North
Thord Klarström - Vocals, Guitar
Peter Samuelsson - Guitar
Niklas Nord - Bass
Mikael Karlsson – Drums
Record Label: Farvahar Records


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