Facing The Gallows keep fueling the metal flame with new “Dead Mindset” album

Facing The Gallows have released an album of the year contender with Dead Mindset.
Facing The Gallows have released an album of the year contender with Dead Mindset.

Like a slumbering giant creeping out of the shadows, Facing The Gallows, have unleashed their highly anticipated album Dead Mindset to the metal loving masses today.

The new tunes from these Johannesburg-based metal heavyweights does not disappoint and from track 1 to 12 you sense a greater unity, creativity and brutality than ever before. It has been a five year gap since their previous 2013 release Chapters and this new album is definitely worth the wait. In Dead Mindset the band tackles various socials ills in society, personal growth and struggles and well as the awesomeness of a true SA jol.

Plainly put this album has no filler tracks and hits hard without being generic in any way. The blend of various metal styles that Facing The Gallows are known for are present here and rather than reinventing the wheel they have taken their formula and transformed it into a polished diamond.

Facing The Gallows.

Facing The Gallows.

Facing the Gallows consists of Bryan Binneman (vocalist), James Irving (guitarist), Ray Abraham (bass), Chase Beynon (guitar) and Victor Monginho (drums)

Here is a track by track review of Dead Mindset:

  1. Pessimist (9/10)

The brooding and ominous sounding guitar riff from guitarist James Irving starts this album off in the best way possible with a brilliant elongated intro that will have you banging your head. When vocalist Bryan Binneman starts screaming and growling in the first verse, you know that the boys from Facing The Gallows means business:  “When everything is lost. It’s always the end of the world, when the anxiety kicks in and I can’t fight the fear that exists.” The song lyrically deals with anxiety pessimism and the need to escape dark thoughts. Basically the fear and negativity will kill you in the end in a vicious cycle. This track has a great mix of metalcore riffs and drop tuned guitars as well as a superb clean chorus that gives “Pessimist” a vibrant edge. The balance here is perfect and kudos must be given to the musicianship and skills in the guitar and drum work. A tasty solo from Irving combined with Beynon’s breakdown riff finishes this track off brilliantly and keeps you begging for more.

  1. Illuminate (9/10)

“Illuminate” continues the pummeling nature present in the opening track with a djent inspired riff that sets the tone for the rest of the song. The riff has a fantastic flow to it and has a stop start effect that works perfectly especially in the pre-chorus when Binneman gives a chilling low growl: “Dictators clawing their way in. Dictators your reign is at its end.” The defiance in the lyrics fits perfectly with the music and the track sees Binneman reaching various vocals high’s and low with some epic screams especially in the bridge – which is my favourite part of the song: “Revolt against your leaders. Take it back. Rising in arms as we fight to our death.” His repetition with various types of growling makes this really unique and showcases his skill as a vocalist. The breakdown in the outro is also another highlight. The lyrical content focuses on various wrongs in society such as war and corruption and the need to stand up and defy the current. A really powerful and forward thinking song.

  1. Doom II (7/10)

If you have ever been to a live Facing The Gallows show then you know how much fun this song is to mosh and jump to. Doom II takes a different turn from the rest of the album’s lyrical content and focuses on enjoying life and living life to the fullest with your friends to make the best memories. The track goes at full blast from the start as some rapid drumming from Monginho and hardcore punk style guitar riffs from Abraham, Irving and Beynon sets this song into motion. One of the best parts of the song is the “we own the night” backing vocals before the bridge of the song which will really get the crowd going. “Sometimes you got to lose yourself, so make some noise.” And that is exactly what this song is – losing yourself in the moment.

  1. Time Keeper (feat. Duncan Bentley of Vulvodynia) (7/10)

This is the hardest and most brutal song on the album. If you ever wondered how it would feel if a musical freight train hit you, then this is it. Blast beats, rapid guitar riffs, pummelling double bass drumming, low growls, high screams and devastating lyrical content are all included in the “Time Keeper” cocktail. Bentley’s inclusion gives this song an extra edge and the dual screaming rampage with Binneman fits perfectly to the lyrical content of the song as well that focuses on death and the inevitability of death. There is also an underlying theme of making the most of time and living life, instead of procrastinating as death waits for no one: “Make sure your remaining days don’t go to waste. There must be something you achieved, something you won’t regret. If you were given one more shot, would you make the best of it?” Some food for thought on this crushing track.

  1. Tides Of Terror (8/10)

“Tides of Terror” was the first single that was released from Dead Mindset and met with positive feedback with good reason. It just feels if the band really took it up a notch this time around with frenetic guitar riffs and tapping giving the song a great pace and feel. It is something different and has a true metalcore feel without the djent elements found in previous songs. The song is also one of the most important lyrical songs that focuses on anxiety, fear and terror and the need to look at new horizons and to find strength to overcome struggles. The song has some fantastic personal lyrics and showcases how the band has grown lyrically as well. An especially pleasing part is the manner in which the song slows down in the bridge with Binneman’s spoken word vocals in combination with Abraham and Irving’s cleans. Some gems include: “When will the tides change, when we can feel safe in our lives, safe in our homes, safe in this world. Let’s build a better place that we don’t fear. A place where we can survive,” as well as “There’s a need to remind ourselves, that there’s still hope out there. Our lives can change for a better tomorrow, but we must change ourselves today. There’s hope beyond these tides of terror, we can find our way.” The progression of angst filled lyrics towards a new mindset of overcoming the odds is something that we can all appreciate in today’s broken society.

  1. Virginia (7/10)

This is one of the most personal tracks on the album with regards to dealing with the loss of a loved one. The clean guitar intro sets the mood of the song and the track reminds one of Parkway Drive’s songs on an instrumental level. This shift of pace midway through the album is also a fantastic reminder of the versatility of the band and this song will definitely resonate with a lot of listeners. “Drowning in my sorrow, while the world is beckoning. I’ve forgotten how to live. I feel like I have lost my king. I’m broken,” screams Binneman as you can feel the emotion in his voice. The clean section in the chorus is also beautifully written and focuses on a hopeful message from out of the tragedy: “We’re searching further, from love from another, someone we can trust.”

The second verse focuses on healing wounds and is one of the lyrical passages on Dead Mindset:  It’s calm here, now I’m part of the wind and I’ve found something to live for and I’ve learnt to love again. Smiling in my stasis as the earth begins to spin, our memories will stay here forever until we meet again.”

  1. Mark My Words (8/10)

The opening riff on this track is classic Facing The Gallows, hard, edgy and packing a serious punch. The hard hitting feel is kept in the verse as Binneman lets loose with some signature growls. The back up and gang style vocals also work perfectly to add some variety to this track. The lyrics focus on leaving regret behind and moving on. Accept what has happened and admit your mistakes. A real powerful message with some cracking lyrics to supplement the crushing music: “Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend when you’ve made bad choices, and said bad things, and I’m not proud of what I have done, but at least I’ve acknowledged and accepted that I was wrong.” The breakdown riff at the end is also fantastic and just complements the song to a tee.

  1. Bad Blood (8/10)

Circle pit vibes and moshpits will be the theme for this song when played live as its theme of aggression, rage and brutality creates a great atmosphere for some hardcore headbanging. The part where Binneman screams “My mouth is a weapon bound to enrage, set to explode from a swallowed grenade,” with the sound of a grenade set against a thunderous breakdown, is one of the best parts of the album. It just makes you lose your mind. The clean vocals from Abraham in conjunction with Binnemans’ scream are fantastic in the chorus and put the song up another notch. The djent-based riff in this track is also relentless and a real treat to the ear. Rage and its consequences as well as knowing how to feal with rage comes out strong in this track. The guitar solo is also a great addition before the final breakdown hits you in the heart.

  1. Dead Mindset (9/10)

This to me is the best track on the album, with its snare beat intro and djent guitar continuation in the verse. Instrumentally this song is top notch, the vocals are on point and the lyrics encompass all that this album wants to tell its listeners. We as society have been creating our own demise through foolish choices, selfishness and greed and it’s time to stop living with a dead mindset. The lyrics: “My mind is racing, and I can’t seem to sleep, a constant motion and I’m battling to think. Can’t you see this? Don’t you feel it? I’m lying awake as this nightmare begins,” are also delivered so perfectly that you can feel the tension and despair. The main guitar riff also one of catchiest on the album, and sticks in your head. The final verse also put the themes of the song into perspective with Binneman’s low growl sealing the deal:  “Look at what we’ve done. Look at what we’ve become. Erase your mind. We’ve butchered this planet.”

  1. Feed The Flies (8/10)

This is definitely the angriest song on the album and the constant pounding guitar rhythm is absolutely perfect in driving the aggression home. The lyrics focus o n people who are parasites, whose only purpose is to break you down or leech off another person. The visceral images in the lyrics are also a perfect representation of this: You blood sucking parasite. You’re filth, and you’re scum. Severed your anchor, I’ve cut your line, I’ve broken the chains. I’ve built a resistance to your kind.”

Monginho’s drumming here in this track is absolutely insane and the pace and technical ability he possesses is really a treat for the ear. The production on this track and the entire album for that matter is excellent as the bass guitar in this track keeps the low brooding quality that fits the lyrics perfectly. This is a banger of a track that will make you want to smash something.

  1. Opportunist (9/10)

Opportunist is the epic metal song that every band wants in their catalogue and Facing The Gallows have outdone themselves with this number. The song plays itself out in two phases – a hardcore self-introspective part and a melodic resolution, appreciation and self-discovery. The overarching themes of dealing with falilure and seeking a positive outcome and opportunity to be better are present throughout and the music also portrays this brilliantly. The guitars in this song are brutal are as ever and some great guitar licks and well-timed passages keep this song flowing until the 3 minute mark. This is when the song changes pace perfectly with a clean guitar solo and soothing “orchestra like” parts that puts the song into a new level and something unexpected. The lyrics:  “I won’t be bound by the enemy that resides in me, I won’t be ashamed of what has shaped my destiny, I won’t be a slave to my thoughts that try and bring me down, with my new resolution to conquer these demons, I will prevail. My heights are endless. The skies the limit. Now is my opportunity to rise. I will rise,” are some of the best on the album.

  1. Filth (9/10)

“Filth” was added as a bonus track to this album and this well-known song is a great addition to round the album off. The song focuses on pacifism and the danger of not caring about anything and being selfish.  It paint a systematic picture of the downward spiral in which the world is heading and the hard-hitting music complements the music perfectly. One of my favourite part is the bass riff in the pre-chorus after the second verse as well as the brutal breakdown, which still ranks as Facing The Gallows’ best in my opinion.

Dead Mindset released today, 20 February, and is available on the following platforms:

iTunes and Apple Music

Google Play

Amazon as well as Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal and MediaNet

Find Facing the Gallows on: 






Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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