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Gallows Are Loud And Proud

The origins of Watford, England's Gallows seem like an almost textbook case of rock 'n' roll creationism: a collection of downtrodden youth with little to do but vent their angst through songs.

That's about where the predictability stops, though, 'cause Gallows are no run-of-the-mill outfit. Vocalist Frank Carter, his guitarist brother Steph Carter, bassist Stu Gili-Ross, guitarist Laurent Barnard and drummer Lee Barratt's brand of seminal hardcore punk mixed with melodic undertones elicits comparisons to some of the scene's most respected longhorns. Names such as Minor Threat, Black Flag and Circle Jerks constantly crop up in reviews and interviews in an effort to convey the passion, frustration and attitude that defines them.

Maybe that's why Gallows are garnering so much attention. They're the "buzz" band of this year's Warped Tour, heralded by press and public alike despite the fact that their Epitaph debut, Orchestra Of Wolves, only saw the light of day in North America earlier this month.

"I think it's the music and the sincerity of our live show," says Frank Carter. "When we play, it's in earnest.

"We channel from every bit ourselves to make sure that no matter how big or small the show is, we're giving it everything we've got. Hype isn't important to us... we don't give a fuck if people don't want to hear us either. We give our heart and soul, bleed and cry if that's what it takes to make people listen at the basic level."

With the throngs of people jumping on the Gallows bandwagon, someone seems to be listening. Then again, how could we ignore them? They recently topped out a sound metre at more than 130 decibels (higher than the average jet engine) to become the world's loudest band.

Still, despite being pleased that his band draw comparisons to those from punk's most formative years, the singer is adamant that people understand that they aren't striving to sound like their idols. Instead, Gallows takes that inspiration and bastardize it with hatred for what has happened to punk over the past decade. Driven to reinvigorate the scene with elements of interest, danger and, well, volume, Carter notes that while you may not love Gallows, you can't ignore them.

"When you're young, there are so many bands you love that you want to be like. But when you get older, you realize it's not about wanting to be in a band like anyone else. It's about striking out against what is wrong. That's what bands that influenced us were doing in the first place. I'm sick of the trend of stale soft rock that seems to fucking penetrate everyone. People are happy listening to the most banal, tasteless, boring, uncharacteristic rock ever. It's not right. Music shouldn't be boring. It should be exciting, intimidating and dangerous. You should feel something when you listen to it. You shouldn't be able to just put it on in the background."

Gallows and the rest of the Warped Tour will hit Park Place in Barrie, Ont. on Aug. 11 and Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau the next day.

- Keith Carman