John Gallow - Violet Dreams (I, Voidhanger Records, 2014)
Some of you may know John Gallo from the super-underrated epic horror doom act ORODRUIN. They made a few nice releases in the past one and a half decade, even before the words “doom”, “occult” or “horror” became fashionable.
John runs his BLIZARO project, a kind of mix of horror influenced atmospheric music, doom metal and progressive rock, anyone into weird but quality shit should check them out.
This solo-album (?) is a kind of Paul Chain tribute from John, if I got it well…Adding a plus “w” to the name Gallo, he uses his name here as John Gallow, a tricky move, relating a healthy sense of black humor! The album title “Violet Dreams” already suggests the Paul Chain Violet Theatre influence.
Dark atmospheres with weighty riffs accompanied by lo-fi vocals reminiscent of Paul Chain but also reminding of good old Wino. Heavy guitar work, the underground American spirit of Wino’s bands meet the Italian darkness of Paul Chain with a compliment to Tony Iommi’s and Tom Gabriel Fischer’s lifework. Moody ambient elements are also present, adding to the already horror soundscape. There are songs with no metal elements, only primeval shock ambiance, like “Ancient Tears”, reminding of Italian Giallos. Heaviness, weird choirs, psychedelic guitar solos, Giallo-like soundtrack vibes, the creepy odd voice of John Gallo(w), a lot of reverb on guitars, haunting funeral keyboards, eeriness in every note.
It is hard for a 63 minutes record to stay under the radar, although the themes are nice, the sound is tight, the concept is more than interesting, I don’t sense that feeling which makes it immortal. That feeling that even the master Paul Chain himself, couldn’t reproduce on every record. Too much themes and not enough uniformity maybe? All day work and no play makes John a dull boy! JOHN GALLOW is recommended though, but BLIZARO even more, and I would be eager to hear a new ORODRUIN album!
Written in February 2015