Gallhammer: Gloomy Lights

For a band that only formed in 2003, before any of the members had even learned to play their instruments, you have to give Japanese, all-girl, black metal trio, Gallhammer, credit for the brutal efficiency in which they convey their hatred.

Signed to Peaceville Records in 2006 at the request of Darkthrone, this reissue of their ‘04 debut Gloomy Lights (complete with two bonus tracks) is, in many ways, an acknowledgment of early black metal; featuring primitive, punk-rock style drumming and haunting shrieks from lead vocalist, Vivian Slaughter.

The band’s experimentation with ambience and terrifyingly slow doom marches will turn any smile into an Abbath-like grimace. Certainly if all these ladies tried to do was play straight-ahead black metal, Gloomy Lights would get dull and probably fall apart after only a few tracks. Thanks to their Boris-esque flirtations with grim sludge however, Lights is more dynamic than your big brother’s black metal.

As fun as it is to advertise Gallhammer as being demographically more likely to collect Hello Kitty dolls than Immortal, they have more to offer to a genre devotee’s collection than just being something that comes from the Far East rather than the Grim North.

In A Word: Severe