The End

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Gallhammer were once a trio of young Japanese women who played a crusty, noisy brand of black metal deeply indebted to Hellhammer (Tom Gabriel Fischer's pre-Celtic Frost group) and U.K. punk band Amebix. On this record, though, they've lost their guitarist, Mika Penetrator, and have chosen to continue on as a bass-drums duo. Naturally, this has changed their musical style quite a bit; the thrashing punk metal of 2004's Gloomy Lights and 2007's Ill Innocence can still be heard on songs like "Rubbish CG202" and "Entropy G35," but tracks like "Aberration," "Sober," and the title cut are totally different -- slow, sludgy death marches that owe more to Flipper and the Melvins than black metal. Bassist/vocalist Vivian Slaughter's bass tone is deep and resonant, and drummer/vocalist Risa Reaper's bashing is minimal but evocative. This is not an album likely to meet with much love, even from preexisting Gallhammer fans. It's a tough slog. But it has plenty of musical merit and exists as more than just a demonstration of persistence.

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