Bretwaldas Of Heathen Doom is one of the UK metal scenes best-kept secrets. They have, including this latest, released three full-length albums showcasing some classic vintage doom with a stoner edge.
The Bretwaldas' previous album, Battle Staffs In The Mushroom Woods, was a classic in my opinion, showcasing a production that was good enough to be listenable and yet raw enough to add an undeniable power to the songs. The production on Seven Bloodied Ramparts has regressed a little, sounding more raw but yet this does not detract from the songs over-much.
The two members, Sceot Acwealde (whom some of you may know as the man behind Symbel) and Dagfari Wartooth are obviously inspired by some of the great bands of rock and metal – the influence of Hawkwind and Black Sabbath shines forth. Additionally, Wartooth's gritty vocals – one of the real highlights of this band - aren't a million miles away from Lemmy's famous rasp.
Seven Bloodied Ramparts features seven tracks, all themed around the values of heathenism and English heritage from the Dark Ages. They range from slower, doom laden tracks such as Grey Wolf, which has an intro reminiscent of the godfathers of doom themselves; Black Sabbath to fast, galloping songs such as A Handful Of Dust....
At a little over 33 minutes in length this album is definitely not too long. In fact, I wish it was a bit longer! The songs are strong enough to keep your attention and unlike a lot of modern doom bands who I find insufferably dull and boring, Bretwaldas Of Heathen Doom use the doom elements well to add a truly heavy and 'headbangable' atmosphere to their music.
Overall, another great album from the Mercian duo that, in light of so much commercial junk being released lately, really deserve to be heard by metal fans everywhere. This is music from the heart about themes the musicians truly feel strongly about. For me not quite up to the magnificent Battle Staffs In The Mushroom Woods but still a strong album showcasing just how good British metal can be and proving that trends mean nothing when it comes to writing good music.