Gallows Pole were formed back in 1977 in Vienna, Austria and were originally called Angelina. They have had a number of relatively successful records, but are still pretty much an unknown quantity outside of Europe. Doors of Perception is unlikely to change their profile, but it is a record that oozes hard rock folk savvy and I did love the singing of Alois Martin Binder, who sounds like a mix of David Bowie and folk legend Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention). The songs are bitter vignettes of vast understanding, melting with a topping of Sixties pop sensibility. The album is surprising, but in a good way. The band is rounded out by Walter Novacek on bass, Gunther Steiner on Doors-like keyboards and Michael Haderer on drums. The band play with a loose beat and the production seems to harken back to earlier recording eras but is definitely warm sounding. This collective have definitely been round the block, but still possess a venom in their music that stops the album from being cliched.
Dashes of the Rolling Stones come through on opening track “Burn It Down” with its echo of “Start Me Up” until Binder sings with his best Bowie homage. The venom drips through this one, with its refrain that “this town is just a piece of sh*t“…Sweet! Very catchy and is a strong opener.
“Angel Eyes” references Neil Young and sounds nothing like Jeff Healy‘s song of the same name!
High points of this thoughtful release include the great Zep III-like “Watching The Sun Go Down” and the mind-bending “Your Own Demons“. The latter song reminds me of The Doors and their work on Waiting For The Sun, even mentioning the “Unknown Soldier” (a song made famous by Jim Morrison and co).
The record is played out with the 9.33 epic “Doors Of Perception” and it reinforces what an influence The Doors are on this band.
Overall, the album is good without being great. It is seemingly an artist’s vision which doesn’t bend to commercial taste at all. Kudos to Gallows Pole and here’s to more musicians taking this brave route.