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Knight and Gallow - For Honor and Bloodshed

Knight And Gallow
For Honor And Bloodshed
by Chris Hicklin at 16 May 2022, 7:05 PM

KNIGHT AND GALLOW are a traditional Heavy Metal band out of Sacramento, California formed in 2019. I am caused some worry by the names of their first two tracks, that maybe they are another in the recently born and overly specific sub-genre of Power Metal, Lord of the Rings Metal but fortunately not as we already have WIND ROSE to sing us songs about Dwarves digging holes, which is plenty. But in fact, many of their tracks are named for various different fantasy franchises including those based in Manga such as Beserk and in computer games like Dark Souls. This is not surprising as the band are all quite young, well certainly by my standards.

Middle Earth” starts things off, and no need to explain the reference, I am sure. It’s a fade in introduction with a bit of a warlike clamour to it and some nice soloing from Carlos Sanchez. This builds into a military ending before launching into the first track proper, another LOTR themed tune “Men of The West” which is packed with chugging guitar riffs, duelling solos and dramatic tom fills. It swings from doomy SABBATH style riffs to exciting NWOBHM choruses. At first Nick Chambers vocals don’t have me completely convinced, they sound a bit thin for the style of music, although he carries a tune with ease and there’s no lack of range. Once he gets to let out a ripping Metal scream my nerves are settled a little. In fact, once you get used to it, his vocals work well they are just a little different. Metal vocals don’t all have to be either operatic excess, or brute force and gargling rocks, Chambers takes a more Bard-like approach, and he has an ear for a good tune which is important. A quite long and great fun guitar solo with lots of whammy and squealing interjects before the final chorus sees us out.

Godless” features a very tight and compact guitar riff and some twiddling solos, it ebbs and flows a bit but is a little too repetitive, and just outstays its welcome. “Soul of Cinder” begins with some menacing bells and is apparently named for a computer game called Dark Souls. The last time I spent any serious time playing a computer game was when I went off the scoreboard on Chucky Egg on my Dragon 32, so I won’t pretend to know anything about that. The song features another very efficient guitar riff, Carlos Sanchez seems to have a knack for coming up with very simple but very catchy riffs and chord progressions and this one is no exception.

Skipping past the likeable but not particularly distinguished “Lord of The Sword” we get to the utterly deranged “God’s Will,” Nick Chambers has a field day with this one, bizarre shrieking backing vocals exchange places with war chants and discordant guitar and drum breakdowns, while the main guitar riff has a very METALLICA feel to it, it’s a psychotic mashup of different ideas that somehow works on every level.

Stormbringer’s Call” is a bit of a departure from what we have heard before. While the intro sounds very NWOBHM and the main verse riff like a demented fairground ride, the chord progression and drumming in the chorus are positively Punk Rock, and the vocals have a simple and very singable tune with a memorable lyric. There’s a wild guitar solo as well that takes us to the end as it sounds off with a wailing final note.

Blood of Wolves” is a penultimate blast of NWOBHM before the final track “Black Swordsman” sees the LP out on a high note of chugging riffs, blazing fast drum and percussion work and unruly sweep-picked solo work. This is the fastest and most unrelenting track on the album, a fitting end to a very interesting and satisfying piece of work.

Unlike a lot of bands in this genre KNIGHT AND GALLOW manage to show some real restraint. The production techniques are kept quite simple giving it a bit of a throwback to the 70s sound; while the compositions sound more modern they keep the number of instrument and vocal overdubs to a minimum, creating an unfussy and digestible sound that translates their boundless adolescent energy into a Hard Rocking delight. Jam packed with interesting musical ideas and wildly theatrical vocals, this is a brilliant debut and as they refine this sound, I can see them becoming a major force in Heavy Metal.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Middle Earth
2. Men of The West
3. Godless
4. Soul of Cinder
5. Lord of The Sword
6. God’s Will
7. Stormbringer’s Call
8. Blood of Wolves
9. Black Swordsman
Lineup:
Twitch Holman - Bass
Ryan Keeley - Drums, Guitar
Ryan Younger - Guitars, Acoustic guitar
Nick Chambers - Vocals, Guitar
Carlos Sanchez - Guitars
Record Label: No Remorse Records
     


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Edited 07 July 2022
 

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