Johannesburg, South Africa: we’ve been enjoying the privilege of early access to a much anticipated release.
Facing The Gallows‘ debut full length album, Dead Mindset, offers a nail biting fifty minutes of melodic metalcore. Whilst inherently as angry as anything in this genre should be, there are also some delightfully melancholic moments to enchant the listener before snapping attention back to reality. Intriguing hooks, intense lyrics and soaring vocal lines inspire a singalong atmosphere; if you’re not instead wrecking everything in your path.
Dead Mindset in context
Many know that I often ask “what gives me the right to comment an artist’s creative expression?”. The answer is usually something along the lines of; “the fact that we’re sending it to you for that purpose, Pat”.
So I bite my tongue, put on my war-face grimace, crack knuckles and begin typing. Admittedly, as a doomer-gloomer of the more death metal persuasion, I’m not the most avid or explored of listeners within the metalcore/hardcore genre pool; the style expressed most directly by Facing The Gallows. Does that qualify me less to review the band’s material, or more? Subjectivity. It’s a two-edged blade!
Either way, the invitation to an early listening for an album I’ve personally been very curious about couldn’t be resisted; so now I am beholden to the terms and conditions which apply – to offer a review.
I am pleased to report that I’m thoroughly enjoying Dead Mindset. Perhaps I’d been softened up by an earlier release last year by counterpart band Truth and its Burden with its own I Labour album, and characterized by many stylistic similarities. On the matter currently at hand, however, I feel that Facing The Gallows deliver a sufficiently dynamic album to please a wide variety of aural palettes. In fact, apart from the aforementioned release last year, the only other album within this category that has excited me as much was the 2002 Two Minutes To A Heartbeat by SA’s Aftertaste; a work which in my mind remains a benchmark in so many ways.
A Decade of Refinement
Herein lays the clincher. As a band often pigeon-holed by a wide base of listeners into a set of sub-genres, Facing The Gallows seems to me to have developed well beyond those limitations. Through ten years of refinement, on stage and off, Facing The Gallows delivers its proof of mastery in captivating songwriting; where the boundaries between “what is cool, because it fits a label” crumble in favour of “this is cool because it works”. And, well, because we like music that moves us, regardless of labeling.
Good job, fellas!
I think the nation at large could have seen this coming two years ago already, albeit after a bit of a wait. In 2016, Facing The Gallows walked away from the South African Metal Music Awards (awarding noteworthy achievements within the year of 2015) with a dual accolade. Not only did ‘Filth’, the bonus track released along with Dead Mindset, win Best Single of the year; it also scooped Best Music Video. Indicative of a gaining momentum indeed! Even in the face of a genre pool slipping in social relevance whilst new youth interests arise, opportunity prevails for quality, determination, and perseverance. We look forward to seeing what comes next.
And so in conclusion, lay your ears into Dead Mindset when it drops tomorrow. It’ll be worth at least a once-through to any open-minded metalhead; and far more to most, I’m sure. Dead Mindset makes landfall globally across all major platforms, including iTunes, Google Play, etc and physical copies via Facing The Gallows‘ own website.
Residents in or nearby Gauteng, Ballito, Durban, Bloemfontein, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Jeffrey’s Bay and Cape Town; catch Facing The Gallows live in your neighborhood in the coming weeks. The party might not be as epic as the one in the ‘Doom II’ music video, but we’re confident they’ll be memorable in their own rights. See you in the pit!