I discovered GALLHAMMER some months ago, and after listening to their demos I was crushed by their primitive and raw energy. These women don't need no downtuned uber-heavy riffs to give the listener the creeps, and they have nothing in common with the sludge or doom genre, although they are creating an atmosphere that is doomier than from most of the self-titled doom bands. When you take a look at their outlook, the website, and the cover-artwork it seems as if they have someting like a concept, but no matter if it's right or wrong, it supports their ghostly musical vision. Vivian Slaughter (bass & vomit) was so kind to answer my questions, and so this interview is the next highlight here. Stay morbid!
Hey Vivien, I guess only a very people outside of Japan will know Gallhammer. So please, can you give us an insight in the beginning of the band. When was the group formed and what was the main intention for this step?
It was February of 2003 that the we started Gallhammer. I was playing sax or vocal in some band in the past, but I want to create a band out of nothing this time. So I looked for those who have not played the musical instrument. Mika and Risa was originally vocalist. They were not in this seen, but they got interested about Gallhammer.
It happens not to often that three women come together to create such a bleak and harsh sound. Have you ever thought about a man in the line-up or is it important for you stay as a female-only band (due to the band's name/concept)?
At the first time we build on the concept of all-female band. Now it isn't important whether menber are man or woman. Gallhammer does not work except this line-up.
It's not easy to describe your sound. You don't come up with thick and heavy riffs, but the entire mood is very heavy, played in a raw and somehow primitive way that reminds me to the early black metal acts like DarkThrone or Hellhammer f.e. What's your point of view about the Gallhammer sound?
Yes, I want to make a raw and primitive sounds. I was a lot of influenced by Amebix very very much, and I love 80's and early 90's black metal too. Also I like new wave like Joy Division and I like 80's UK Crust core like Dirt, Antisect and more too. Also I was influenced by Death Metal and Earache label like Carcass, Cathedral, Morbid Angel, Painkiller, Scorn etc when I was junior high school student! We played cover song of Burzum and Hellhammer. Another members likes many kind of music like progresive rock, old techno too. So our sound has very various elements. I can say that raw feelings make a good sound. Because we are not machine. We could shed blood, could vomit and have feeling of hate.
The latest demo "Endless Nauseous Days" is a bit different from the self-titled forerunner, especially the title track is very atmospheric wit its haunted atmosphere, while "Ishiki Kondaku" and "Insane Beautiful Sunnyday Slaughter" are sounding more matured in comparison with older material. What do you think about your last demo?
There is the feeling that the atmosphere of GALLHAMMER at that time has come out well. It was recorded after even one year we started Gallhammer. Mika was played arpeggiate in rehearsal. As for me, I like it and I made the arpeggiate song called "Endless Nauseouse Days". It have only two kinds of riffs, so maybe it makes more atmosphere. "Ishikikondaku" (Beyond the hate red) was played since our first gig. It matured. "Insane beautiful sunnyday slaughter" was made around the same time as made Endless... Beyond and Insane was recorded at gig.
What motivates you, and what are your goals as a band?
Raw feelings. It is important that live with self-hatred anxiety such as things.
I'm a huge fan of Romereo's 'Night of the Living Dead', and when I noticed your creepy outfit on the website and in one of the demo's booklet, it looks as if you are influenced by this kind of horror movies. Can you agree, and how important is the outfit for the band? Is it something like a concept?
I like too. There was taste of horror at first time. I wanted to express the mental instability and mental cruelty which a girl has. Now we are holding up pride,hate and life in the front. We are not wearing that dress.
Can you agree with me, when I say that Gallhammer are mainly interested in the dark sides of life?
Yes, I think so. Gallhammer is most important things to live for me.
You have completely designed the tasteful layout of both demo cd-r's. Are you just a talented person, or have you done art/photography studies?
I dropped out of high school and I wasn't educated in art too. But I like photography,I developed and printed photo in my room before. Now I don't take a picture very often. I think art work is important things, I want to do by myself as possible.
Do you prefer working in the studio or is Gallhammer a live band, and how much shows have you played in this year?
Gallhammer is a live band. I'm not good at recording. I like live! Maybe we have played 15times in this year.
Vivien, thanks a lot for your answers!
Thanks for the interview. Thank you Klaus and Cosmic Lava. Good luck to you! And our 1st album"Gloomy Lights" will be released in Nov 2004. If you interested in Gallhammer please contact us!
This stuff is some of the raw unrefined primitive sound I've heard since a long time, and it's meant as a huge compliment! GALLHAMMER are a female trio from Japan, and I only mention the sex of the members, because it happens not very often that women are playing such kind of a psychotic avant metallic death trip sound, that has more in common with rawest black metal like Burzum, or can be described as a stripped down version of Hellhammer or early Celtic Frost. This group gives a shit about complex song structures or something like a high-fidelity production. This isn't low end - no it's low-fi in it's most convincing form. The vocals are hardly to categorize as female vocals - very psychotic and deep. In opposite to the bleak songs the complete booklet of this demo is designed in white, except the cover-artwork and the included photos (both in b/w) of the band who reminds me to "Night Of The Living Dead". Very stylish! The demo contains six songs, but all titles are printed in Japanese language so I can't tell you any titles. Anyway, if you're a fan of bizarre sounds like me, than I give you the advice to check out the strange world of GALLHAMMER.
This is the newest demo from Japanese sickos GALLHAMMER. Again, the artwork is simply tasteful and comparable to the older releases. Vivian Slaughter, Mika Penetrator and Risa Reaper continue their morbid musical path, and the title track is their most accomplished song until now. A very haunting, creepy atmospheric slow track that would fit into a bizarre apocalyptic psycho flick. Here are no thick or massive riffs while deep inhuman vocal growls are adding a special disturbing vibe to it. "Ishiki Kondaku" and "Insane Beautiful Sunny Day Slaughter" are two live tracks, recorded in March 2004, somewhere in Japan. Both songs are closer to the material from the earlier demos, but the production is stronger what makes the whole listening experience more enjoyable. GALLHAMMER are just the next proof that Japan is a very creative ground for obscure music.