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Bellingham
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Local band releasing album amidst live venue closures

Gallows Hymn is recording new music in spite of lack of live shows

Nicholas Spevak of Gallows Hymn, with a tunic-like shirt and stripes of black face paint on his face and neck, plays his electric guitar in a field with mountains in the background.
Nicholas Spevak of Gallows Hymn plays his guitar in a field. // Courtesy of Nicholas Spevak

By Jacob Kerst

Gallows Hymn, a local band founded by Western alumni, is recording their third studio album and plans to release singles from the album as they are recorded throughout 2021. The band is currently preparing to release the album as a whole in 2022.

Without the ability to play live shows, Gallows Hymn has transitioned to a more remote version of their band than they are used to. Most fan interaction happens at live shows, and without them, interaction with fans has lessened as well.

“Our creative goal for this next album is to improve and expand upon our musical and lyrical style that we have developed over the past couple of years,” said Nicholas Spevak, guitarist and lyricist for Gallows Hymn. “With our new single being released soon, it will mark a milestone in that we will have consistently released material every year since our inception.”

Gallows Hymn is still in contact with fans via social media, but since they can’t play any shows, they haven’t been able to interact with fans as much, and because of COVID-19, they are working entirely as a remote studio project, Spevak said.

Gallows Hymn is a progressive and extreme metal band with cinematic score influences, as well as lyrics that are drawn from ancient texts, Spevak said. He said the band formed in 2018 and has toured up and down the west side of Washington state since then. Spevak also said the upcoming album is set to be different from the rest of the albums with  Italian Renaissance themes. 

The band Gallows Hymn performs onstage.
Gallows Hymn performs onstage. // Courtesy of Nicholas Spevak

Gallows Hymn’s focus in their music is more on progressive and symphonic elements rather than primary roots in metal, Spevak said. “We aim to have more instrumental and vocal variety than we had previously. We are also collaborating with new vocalists including Olga Nuit, who did guest vocals on our last album,” Spevak said.

Bellingham has been known for its live venues and local music for generations, said Jordan Watson, music producer and instructor of music and technology at Western Washington University. One of the staples of downtown is listening to live music echoing down the streets and choosing which venue to step inside of. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, these venues have been closed and bands have had to redirect their focus onto recording and digital interactions with fans.

“The identity of Bellingham has been to help and support local music acts,” Watson said. “It is a great place to call home and be able to nurture what you do. Even if many people can’t see your shows, people in Bellingham will be supportive, in my experience.”

Even without live shows, artists have found a way to bring the live feel to fans with digital options. Local bands have started hosting live streams and special recorded shows that fans can watch to support the band, Watson said. Gallows Hymn does not have any events planned like these yet.

“The live aspect is such a big part of things, especially now in the digital world,” Watson said. “Figuring out ways to create that live experience virtually and even if it isn’t live, having recordings made on a sort of schedule would seem the most logical to me.”

Without any events planned, Gallows Hymn still plans to release singles throughout 2021. Their previous albums are available on most streaming platforms, so fans have the chance to listen to their music ahead of the coming album.

“I’m loving track seven on the second album with the female vocals,” said Stephen Trimboli, a fan of Gallows Hymn. “They should totally invest in some really good costumes and stage props. I love bands that do that instead of showing up in sweatpants.”

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