Album Review: Gallops – Bronze Mystic

Review from Ben Forrester

I remember it well. I was on my way home after a long “slog” at work and I was listening to the electro-infused math rock pulses of Gallops and getting increasingly excited that I would be finally getting to see them play live that very week after years of waiting. As I jumped on the 143 back to my then humble digs in Fallowfield, I discovered that the gig had been cancelled and that Gallops were calling it a day. I was gutted. There was no explanation, no note, they just cut the chord. After nearly four years of silence, the band stunned us all by announcing their reunion in the summer of 2016 with live shows booked and a brand new album in the works!

So, after a few months of waiting to hear more info about this so-called comeback, the now three-piece are finally ready to present to us their second album ‘Bronze Mystic‘ and even from first listen I must say that it is great to have them back!

It seems that the time away has allowed the band to reassess and analyse all the components that make up their unique sound. On this record, they dissect and explore all these elements to make a confident comeback of varying shades and sonic splendour.

The strong dance vibe of their first EP is very present in tracks like ‘Meta‘ and ‘Graverobber‘, as glitchy synths and spiky guitars lock into these strong, regimented drum rhythms. ‘Pale Force‘ and ‘Crystal Trap‘ tap into a more expansive mindset, as beautiful washes of synths are backed with pulsating and hypnotic drum grooves. There are a lot of pretty moments on this record, which I think is something quite new for the band and it’s great to see them diving further into these deep sparkling pools of melody.

As well as having lighter moments, it also has some darker moments too! ‘Shakma‘ is an intense, urgent piece that builds into this proper rave up full throttle beat as glassy synths float around a choppy guitar riff.  And then you have ‘Darkjewel‘ which was the perfect comeback track – it’s proper relentless in its structure and that riff at the end is a roaring beast! Don’t be fooled by it’s grandeur, this record can pack quite the punch!

The production has the perfect balance of electronic and live instrumentation. It’s still very sonically in depth, with keys and samples getting pumped up, but the live element is still very prominent. You know that these tunes have been jammed out in the practice room and are more than ready to blasted out on stage. But there is this small yet perfectly executed trickle of studio shimmer that makes this a great headphones record.

Bronze Mystic sees Gallops retracing their steps and tightening up the screws. It very much builds on the foundations of its predecessor but it also embraces both their lighter and darker sides. It’s quite a pilgrim of a record with plenty to see and do and feel. It seems that their brief time away has revitalized them to make an album that is packed with emotion and energy and has certainly set the standard for instrumental records this year.

Bronze Mystic is out April 21st on Blood and Biscuits – Pre-order here!

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