Let’s start this off with a bit of word association. I’m going to name a state, and I want you to tell me the first musician who comes to mind. Okay? Here we go…
If you claim to have said anyone other than Bruce Springsteen or Jon Bon Jovi, I’m calling bullshit. Now I suppose it is possible that a person or two could have come up with Krieg’s Neill Jameson, but the Garden State isn’t exactly known for it’s metal. Because I was curious, I actually went through the Vault archive to see how many bands from New Jersey we’ve actually covered here at IMV. The answer? Two. Last October, we did a track premiere from NJ grinders Pink Mass, and way back in March of 2017 I reviewed Fólkvangr’s cassette release of one-man black metal project Afar’s Selfless.
Well…we’re up to three now, as we’re thrilled to be premiering Eternal Night, the new EP from Elizabeth, New Jersey-based Gallery. As the first release form new label Savage Night Recordings, it’s one hell of a way to come blasting out of the gates. Gallery play a style of black metal that pulls together threads from several different styles–second wave, DSBM, atmospheric–and weaves them together to create a whole that’s definitely greater than the sum of its individual parts. Eternal Night is raw, riffy, and fucking massive. Now hit play on the embed below and experience it for yourself – and while you listen, check out my interview with the band.
Eternal Night will be available on May 11 from Savage Night Recordings. Preorder it digitally or grab the CD/t-shirt bundle here. It will also be available on limited edition cassette sometime in the near future.
Indy Metal Vault: Hey, dudes – for starters, thanks for agreeing to an interview. I don’t think I had evenlistened to a full minute of “Sol Beyond the Prism” before I was emailing your label Savage Night Recordings to set something up. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Eternal Night since then, and the whole thing is really fucking good. I especially appreciate the way you seem to draw from a few different styles—Second Wave, atmospheric, DSBM—without really sounding like any of them. In fact, the songwriting on the EP seemed so mature to me that I was baffled as to why I wasn’t able to find anything else about Gallery online. And then I saw this week’s ‘Shades of Black’ column at No Clean Singingand it all made sense: before this release, the band’s name wasn’t Gallery. It was Galare. So that seems as good a place to start as any – why the name change?
Gallery: First off, thank you for interviewing us and for the kind words. We did in fact start off as Galare in the winter of 2015. Galare had a more raw, DSBM sound and was pretty to the point. Around summer of 2017, we found our drummer Jedrek. From there on we decided that we wanted to play a more mature sound that would still be considered black metal but also drew inspiration from other genres.
IMV: Discovering that you had a different name for your first few releases, however, didn’t suddenly open the floodgates in terms of new information. Aside from your earlier releases, I know basically the same thing I did before: you’re a quartet from New Jersey. When I think of thriving regional USBM scenes (for lack of a better word), the Garden State doesn’t exactly leap to mind. Krieg and Woe are both originally from NJ, but they’ve also long since relocated. Is there more going on in New Jersey in terms of black metal than most outsiders may be aware of?
G: New Jersey has always had a heavy scene but in terms of black metal you have to really be in touch with the underground music around the tri-state area. Bands like Windfaerer paved the way for us to play better shows. Then there are younger bands like Woodland Tomb, who are up and coming. NYC has also been good to us. Bands like Night Rite and Sangrad, who have a more thrashy black-and-roll sound, are also killing it.
IMV: I usually try to avoid asking the obvious questions when interviewing a band, but since there’s literally nothing out there about Gallery – what’s everybody’s musical backgrounds? Given how developed the songwriting is on Eternal Night, I’d be surprised if Gallery were everyone’s first actively recording band.
G: Its funny you say that. Our guitarist Emilio, is the vocalist for Deadworld, a blackened death metal band. Jedrek, our drummer, plays in Night Rite. Our vocalist Jay was the bassist of Deadworld. And Taco, our bassist, is classically trained and plays in many bands.
IMV: Since I’ve mentioned it a couple of times now, the thing that impresses me the most about Gallery’s songwriting is how you’re not only able to seamlessly bring together elements from several different styles of black metal, but do so in ways that don’t seem formulaic. The tonal shifts and dropout sections are consistently surprising. How do you go about writing songs? Is it primarily one person bringing in riffs? Do you jam them out in the rehearsal space? Something else?
G: Emilio, our guitarist, wrote all the riffs on an acoustic guitar. Then he would bring the riff ideas to rehearsal where we would jam them out. Its funny, what you hear on Eternal Nightis in some cases the first time we played that song. Also, Jedrek is an amazing drummer who can figure our riffs quickly and think of something to go with them.
IMV: The most interesting part for me about finding the Galare releases is hearing how the material that was on last year’s The Cruelest Animal, Vol. 1 EP was repurposed on Eternal Night. It sounds like elements from “In Garden” and “Ov Grief” were combined into “In the Garden of Grief,” and “Sol Beyond the Prism” is a good 4+ minutes longer than the previous version and feels almost like a completely different song. What made you decide to rework those songs for Eternal Night? What was that process like compared to your usual approach to songwriting?
G: “In the Garden of Grief” was just put together because it was initially written that way. We were going to scrap the song but decided it would be a perfect opener to the album. “Sol,” on the other hand, was re-written almost entirely. We wanted a song where all of our influences came together, and that what happened on “Sol.”
IMV: I love the production on Eternal Night. It’s raw, but it still sounds fucking massive. Did you record it DIY, or did you actually go into the studio? And since hearing musicians talk about their gear always fascinates me, what did everyone’s studio rigs look like?
G: We went to LI studios in Bayone to track everything live. We wanted to sound as close as possible to our live sound. Then Emilio mixed and mastered the LP himself. As for rigs, Emilio uses a Jackson 7 string and his main pedal is a HM2 and a Holy Grail reverb. Taco on bass went DI and Jedrek uses a five-piece drum set with seven cymbals.
IMV: I usually ask bands about their cover art, but I’m especially curious about the artwork that adorns Eternal Night. It could just be me, but it seems more like the sort of image that would appear on the front of an OSDM record. Who did the art? How did you come to choose it for the cover?
G: The artwork was done by Alex Shadrin. Jon from Savage Night sent us some of his work and we thought it was perfect for the LP. The album, although sounds rooted in black metal, the themes are grim. The artwork perfectly captures that.
IMV: Instead of asking the usual question about influences, I’ve taken to approaching it from a different angle. If each member of the band had to pick one album that had this biggest impact on his or her performance on Eternal Night, what would it be?
Emilio – Deftones – Around the Fur
Taco – Tool – Undertow
Jay – Into Eternity – The Scattering of Ashes
Jedrek – Galneryus – Phoenix Rising
IMV: Eternal Night will be the first release from Savage Night Recordings. How did you end up hooking up with the label?
G: Jon and Amanda had actually been fans of Galare and approached us soon after the name change. They have been nothing but patient and helpful with us. We can’t wait to see what they have for us next.
IMV: What’s next for Gallery after Eternal Night drops? Any touring plans?
G: We will be playing shows through out the summer playing shows supporting the album. Hopefully sometime next year we will be able to do few runs.
IMV: Thanks again for taking the time to answer a few questions. I like to leave the last word to the artists – anything else you want to add?
G: Just want to thank Savage Night for the support and to all the homies for supporting the band.