Grey Gallows, the darkwave male duet from Patras, Greece have just released their second album. This was much anticipated, as the band had already released a digital 2-track single just before summer and also contributed two brand new songs on compilations earlier this year. On their various interviews, the band had already confirmed their work in progress, so the release of "Shades" this autumn was a pleasant announcement.

"Shades" consists of 9 songs and lasts about 37 minutes (which is one good reason why the album should be listened repeatedly). Grey Gallows, having already established their musical style on their debut album "Tears", continue to evolve their sound in "Shades", a pure darkwave album with gothic rock elements, which manages to stand out and have its own personality.

Unlike the majority of modern bands, Grey Gallows give great attention to the fundamental sound: the drum machine. First the rhythm, then the melody. The drum machine coupled with deep baritone vocals produces a solid sound that can't be ignored. Konstantin's commanding -yet expressive- vocal perfomance fits perfectly with the ever-changing pounding rhythm, as well as with the constant synth sounds on the background and Dionisis' selected discreet guitar and bass contributions. Another pleasant surprise, is the exclusive use of female vocals on two songs, ("Nothing Will Remain" and "She Ends Herself") kindly provided by Fay Tsigka, which makes the album richer, more balanced and overall far more interesting.

Lyrically, most songs deal with personal emotions and relationships, mainly addressed to "the other half" than to the inner self. In two songs (which I consider the best) Konstantin obviously writes about real memories and past experiences: "1982" and "On the Dancefloor" are about night scenes, club locations and certain moments that seem attractively unforgettable and timeless. On the other hand, the last song titled "Black Death" speaks about the bubonic plague, the well known historical fact that struck Europe during the Middle Ages.

With this album, Grey Gallows seem ready to open themselves to a wider audience and explore their musical pursuits further. They seem willing to experiment and take risks, whereas they feel confident and self-aware.

"Shades" comes in cd digipak, with a nicely designed booklet including all lyrics and band photos. The album's elegant artwork is based on mysterious surreal outdoor photography by Greek artist/photographer Marilia Fotopoulou.

The album is released by the UK label Secret Sin records Ltd and is available for your listening pleasure here. (https://greygallowsgreece.bandcamp.com/album/shades) For your further enjoyment, see also the band's interview on DieSeele here. (http://www.dieseele.net/2019/06/interview-with-grey-gallows.html)

 review by Stefan Stavrides