John Gallow - Violet Dreams (I, Voidhanger Records)

Fat doom...
Release Date: 
30 Jun 2014 - 11:30pm

John Gallow, hardly much of an alter-ego name for John Gallo (Blizaro, Orodruin etc), but names aside, this is some fat doom that 'investigates spritual aspects of death and mysteries of the after-life' while pumping out some chugging chords, spicy lead work and haunting vocals. Apparently it's 'solitary, introspective and mostly improvised' too - and rather excellent to boot.

Opener Entrance To The Unknown pushes past the seven minute mark (there are 14 tracks and 63 minutes of music on here so strap yourself in) with slow, deliberate chords that are thick and fuzzy. Haunting backing vocals are a sweet compliment to the suitably wailed lyrics (it's doom, what would you expect?) and all the while some complimentary lead work winds in and out. It's like the tripped out work of Ozzy Osbourne circa Diary of a Madman and there are groovish, disjointed sections that may well be a result of the improvisation going on. Gallow busts out some sweet Iommi-esque solos conjuring a lovely hybrid of Sabbath, Cathedral and Candlemass.

The chug-a-rama continues with Dark Traveller which has some mystical keyboard action going on, and Violet Dreams continues the organ-a-go-go vibe while the thoughtful arrangements of Ancient Tears make for some crazed 70's prog doom. Glorious. More chugging hammer-ons are available on Maelstrom of Consciousness while the solos are composed of beautiful strings of notes. A sprinkle more organ, sir? Why, thank you. A bit more sighing/chanting vocal work? Don't mind if I do. Indeed, fans of bong-ripping doom will get right into this, I tell you...

The fat raunch of Purple Room is driven by phaser soaked guitars and prowling drums - the bass is always prominent - especially in the break. Oh! There's so much doom on here. Jumping forward to Wall of Doom, you're treated to all manner of musical explorations that are forever planted in the fertile soil of doom. Doom. More doom. The blackness is wonderfully doom. Passer-by continues the psychedelic doom meanderings and it was around the 11th track that I started to flag a bit. I was getting a tad doomed-out - not that there was anything wrong with any of the songs - it was just a case of doom-fatigue. A bit of chocolate and some Red Bull and I was back on track, enjoying the grooving keys of Lavendeath, the thick delights of Burning Trees (which has some lovely acoustic jaunts), and finally Beam of Light (a bit weak, me thinks; perhaps Mr Gallo/w was starting to flag a bit himself?). I did feel a touch worn out by the end of the album but it was an epic journey well worth my time.