RUIN OF A CHURCH
THE DAWN OF…
Vivian was a vocalist in a Grind Core band and had also played saxophone in a Noise group. Risa was a vocalist in an Avant-garde project, and Mika sang in a rock band. By March 2003, Gallhammer had already recorded a demo tape which was limited to just 30 copies and was given away for free at their first gig at Koiwa Death Fest Vol.2. At early gigs their set also included covers of Hellhammer and Amebix tracks, the main influences of the band. Only a few months later in July, the demo CD Gallhammer was recorded and released Vivian\’s vision of Gallhammer had been realised in that it should sound like Dark, Morbid and raw sensibility with the emphasis on raw feelings. Gallhammer is the essence of mental violence, with lyrical themes covering topics such as ‘despair and hopelessness, emptiness, obsession with life, hatred, observations of negative feelings.
By April the following year a new demo CD “ENDLESS NAUSEOUS DAYS” was released and the band started to plan their debut full-length CD, which would feature reworked and re-recorded songs from their earlier demos and compilation appearances. The band kept playing live around Tokyo such as the Gallhammer headline gig entitled “Aloof and Proud Silence vol.1” at Shinjuku D.O.M in August 2004 and also “Aloof and Proud Silence vol.2” at Nishiogikubo WATTS later the same year, in the process gaining plenty of experience and a devoted following wherever they played. On November 11th 2004 their debut album was unleashed by Hello From The Gutter Records, entitled Gloomy Lights, this 8 track album was a dedication to their influences but also created a new, unique and dark sickly sounding atmosphere of their own.
Gallhammer signed to Peaceville Records in 2006, and in early 2007 Peaceville released ‘The Dawn of…’, a CD collection of demo recordings which also included a DVD of live shows in Japan, which brought this fantastic new band to the music world’s attention, with Gallhammer gaining much acclaim for their attitude and songs, The Guardian, UK, even giving them the honour of ‘band of the day’, plus numerous outstanding reviews, all in anticipation of the debut Peaceville studio release from Gallhammer ‘ILL INNOCENCE’, released September 2007. (at the same time as the band embarked upon their debut European tour which introduced many people, press & fans alike, to their unrelenting live act – Gallhammer becoming coverstars for Terrorizer & Zero Tolerance Magazines). ‘Ill Innocence’ was recorded & mixed by Makota Fujishima of Weird Truth Productions in during late 2006/early 2007 and the album was mastered in Oslo by Nocturno Culto of black metal legends, Darkthrone.
Although Gallhammer had been known primarily as a black metal/punk act, the album was impressively diverse, showing their implementation of many influences and moods from both metal and non-metal genres. The themes were based around isolation, oppression, a world without colour, with Vivian describing the imagery like “Delirium – as being in a midday nightmare under the scorching sunshine”; all wrapped in a poetic disparity. ‘Ill Innocence’ also featured recordings of the tracks ‘Speed of Blood’ & ‘At the Onset of the Age of Despair’ as previewed in demo form on The Dawn of….
The band embarked on a full UK tour in the spring of 2008 which coincided with the vinyl release of Ill Innocence. The press reaction was once again highly positive – with the tour then culminating in a trip to Norway for an appearance at the prestigious Inferno Festival. Shortly after this, the band’s debut DVD was released. Titled Ruin of a Church, it captured the band live in Colchester from their 2007 tour – the venue, a converted church, the ideal place to commit their raw & despairing display of music to film.
Following this period of intense activity the band took a step back, only playing a handful of shows back in Japan. Throughout 2009 & 2010 the band began writing for their third studio album. However, it was revealed in 2010 that guitarist Mika had left Gallhammer to pursue a career with her other band. This left Gallhammer as a duo, though Vivian & Risa were intent on making this new combination of only drums, bass & vocals a great success, making the music even more doomy & drone-like in the process. It was in October 2010 that the band entered Void)))lab studios in Japan to record their new album – a fine blend of blackened metal & drone music, which Vivian described as “strange & psychedelic experimental sounds of doom”. This was released in 2011, as ‘The End’, perhaps Gallhammer’s most raw, expressive, & challenging album to date, with many praising the uncompromising & hypnotic nature of the band’s work. Artwork was provided once more by Kim Solve, who had previously worked with Gallhammer on ‘Ill Innocence’ & ‘The Dawn of…’.