It’s a pity that “Wristslitter” doesn’t have lower production value. From the opening drum fill through the discordant chorus, it’s a track that begs to be ever-grittier. It’s muddy and loose the way that the best hardcore albums always have been, and the sheen of the production almost stands in the way of its aggressively violent aesthetic. As the b-side to “Chains” — one of the more orchestral, calculated Gallows tracks of late — it’s more of a hidden treasure than a track written to define the band’s direction.
“Wristslitter”‘s name itself is an indication. It’s not a pleasant song, and it’s not one designed to be an immediate standout. With a chanted chorus of “find a better way” the song moves along in a droning, depressing fashion. In the background the band sound like they are physically working to expel the sounds from their instruments. The aesthetic seems to say that this is a song that needs to be played, whether anyone is listening or not. Wade Macneil groans “I was totally gone / feeling circumstance pushing me along” at the beginning of the second verse, and it becomes clear that “Wristslitter” was never built to be a dressed up, front-and-center track. It belongs in the gutter, and it excels as a seldom heard, underrepresented b-side.
In broader terms, “Wristslitter” represents one of Gallows’ biggest strengths as a band — their ability to tastefully acknowledge their roots while still pushing their craft to newer highs. Next to their self-titled album, and the track’s A-side single, “Wristslitter” sounds divisive but genuine. It’s an appreciation of what came before, and a supporting character to the path that they are forging.