HistoryThe sludgy Gallhammer had the exotic distinction of hailing from Tokyo, Japan, being a trio, which was comprised of female members. The former members of Death Comes Along and Nikudorei formed the band in 2002 and quickly issued a rehearsal demo. Vivian Slaughter was the founder. The members came from noise and psychedelic backgrounds, but did not have any experience with their instruments otherwise.
The Gallhammer demo followed in 2004 as did the Endless Nauseous Days demo. An untitled recording featuring covers of Hellhammer and Amebix was also circulated, but not officially released. The band’s debut full-length was issued late in 2004 courtesy of Hello From The Gutter and Mexico’s Goat Sucker labels. The group played at the Koiwa Death Fest 2 in 2004. The band went silent until late 2006 and the signing of a contract with Peaceville which yielded Ill Innocence almost a year later. Candlelight Records issued this disc in North America. A compilation CD/DVD of the band’s music called The Dawn of... was issued earlier in 2007. The album was recorded by Makota Fujishima and mastered in Norway by Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone. The man also featured the band in his 2007 film The Misanthrope. Ruin Of A Church was the band’s2008 video featuring footage from the European tour including London, UK and Oslo Norway concerts.
Singer and guitarist Mika Penetrator left Gallhammer in the early autumn of 2010. Gallhammer would release its third studio album, The End, on May 31st of 2011 through Peaceville Records. The album was recorded at Void)))Lab in Tokyo in October of 2010 and was mastered in Oslo, Norway in February of 2011. Slaughter had moved to Norway and married Mayhem’s Maniac. Gallhammer’s debut and self-titled demo from 2003 was being re-issued on cassette by Gerpfast Records on 31.08.2021.
As if it were not obvious the band was influenced by Hellhammer and even had a rehearsal with Celtic Frost members once in Tokyo.
GALLHAMMER - ILL INNOCENCE - PEACEVILLE
The fact that there are females in metal, punk or other forms of heavy and extreme music is not new. Japan has been no slouch in the extreme music suffrage wars either. From Flagitious Idiosyncrasy In The Dilapidation grinding away to the 184.108.40.206s ska and rolling the world we should all be past the novelty factor of girls running their own bands. Of course, Japanese musicians and frontwomen have already made their mark through acts like Melt Banana, Shadow or Sigh as well.
Gallhammer is hyped at being an all-girl Japanese black metal band. People see/hear the band as a Hellhammer tribute band which the group enforces by wearing Hellhammer and Celtic Frost shirts, grunting and having its record mastered by Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto in Norway. The trio is closer to the vibe and attitude of a semi-punk band like Amebix (which Gallhammer has covered in the past) than anything else though. Doom and gloom pervade Ill Innocence at every murky corner. The band has a real laissez-faire attitude towards composing songs and lets loose with abandon, but not necessarily at high speeds. Ripper The Gloom borrows from Metallica’s Welcome Home (Sanitarium) to start. Speed Of Blood - a very cool title - has some crusty speedy passages, but Blind My Eyes is a loose combination of grunts and chords with not much in the way of structure. Delirious Daydreamer’s accompanying vocals sound like Macabre (or Donald Duck) while Ripper The Gloom is more on the Celtic Frost side of things. Ashes World experiments with clean vocals but is another dirge in the band’s cap.
What a Gallhammer is the band has to clarify. What Ill Innocence is best not left to the band members’ black metal T-shirts. - Ali “The Metallian”