Grey Gallows is a dark wave duo from Patra, Greece, that’s influenced by a broad spectrum of dark 80’s music. Konstantin, who sings and plays keyboards, and Dionisis, who plays guitar, bass and keyboards, have created a sound that’s riddled with familiarity yet has taken a step up this year in sounding like themselves. They released their first self-financed mini album “Beyond Reflections” back in September 2017, and a year later a full-length debut called “Tears”, followed by Shades in 2019.
Lyrically they tend to focus on the inner struggle and healing of dark emotions. White Light / White Heat, in a recent interview with Grey Gallows, asked what shaped Garden of Lies’ narrative to which Konstantin replied, “I could say that the common ground that unites those songs is the pain of human existence, as it can be seen through love, life and death. We wanted to experiment with our sound, to create more and more dark or melancholic musical landscapes, without deviating from the limits we have set for our music, which are those of the wider wave / gothic sound.”
Having spent almost a year producing the new material, they joined forces with the German label Cold Transmission and collaborated with sound designer Nick (TheMute) Chalntoupis, mastering engineer at SoundCave Studios. They aimed to create a dark 80’s and 90’s sound in the best way possible and we’re here to say they’ve achieved it. Having written and recorded the album during quarantine too, they believe and so do I that the experience brought to the surface even more unpleasant feelings and images of isolation, strengthening their music in the process.
While I’ve seen others trying to define Grey Gallows sound using a variety genres, the title track opening the album is some of the best stand-up tried-and-true gothic rock we’ve heard so far this year. I relate to that sense of dread and the lovely Nick Drivas calls the track “a dark gothy addictive tune that shows how the band has evolved production wise.” So, how does Grey Gallows’ garden grow? With doom, gloom and heart stopping reality. These continue on Love Moan with a killer bassline and a stunning video too – one of my favorites so far this year. Check it out:
The Fall is up next and it’s just a total winner with dreamy guitar work, stunning production, great vocals and skies on fire! At The Crack Of The Dawn slows things down a bit with Bauhaus shades and shadows galore. Konstantin sings, “In the heart of love, infectious desire, in the harsh of the night lay drawn, we drown in fire.” Then things get quite deep taking us from the foggy moors to the haunted past on Dissociation featuring Cleopatra Kaido of the dark electro band Meat Injection. She’s quite excellent here bringing a feminine element to this track about trauma and the disconnection that can occur within one’s sensory experience and sense of self. Having done a lot of childhood trauma therapy myself I relate, and that experience is well captured in the video for Dissociation too:
Don’t Bring Flowers is next and it’s my favorite track in this garden of lies with sweeping synths and some serious Sisters influences, taking us far away from those graves and memories we’d rather just forget. On Cold Hearts the electronics kick into higher gear for a change of pace that still remains unlit: “And in your eyes a distant sign of sorrow… it’s darkness that flows from inside.” However, it’s on Grey Is Our Colour that our Greek duo really rise for a total anthem of all anthems. And oh how I hope to see them play this live someday as Konstantin sings, “Grey is the color of life, for all things that die.” It could’ve been a perfect closer for the album, but wait, there’s more.
Peels of Time takes us deep down, down, down underground utilizing more modern dark wave influences in the realm of Lebanon Hanover. Then the album closes with a dark electro instrumental entitled All Men with a brief voice sample followed by a cavalcade of electronic gloom. While I originally questioned if these last 2 tracks belonged with the others, after repeated listenings I’m quite glad they’re here, I just would’ve put Peels of Time before Grey Is Our Colour.
In this Garden of Lies Konstantin and Dionisis have planted their finest work to date. I love it and I love the shadowy cover art and how it represents their Greek heritage while showcasing that these ruins from long ago still stand with a certain sense of shadowy majesty and wonder all their own. It’s as if these pillars represent this cohesive collection of unlit songs that not only remind us of what was or might have been, they too stand tall and strong and will continue to marvel and delight us long from now.