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On disc: Jaldaboath

The Rise Of The Heraldic Beasts - Mike Thompson - 8 stars

Rise Of The Heraldic Beasts

The Rise Of The Heraldic Beasts
(Napalm Records - 2010)

Imagine if you will what would happen if the Monty Python boys, Black Adder and Bal-Sagoth travelled back in time and kidnapped a bunch of medieval troubadours and then forced them to play on a black metal album with lyrics inspired by several barrels of mead and ale. If you came up with 'Hammering Heraldic Metal', 'Crusader-core' or 'Tumultuous Teutonic Templar Thrash' then congratulations! You got it spot-on! That's exactly what Jaldaboath claim to present on the first full-length album!
Jaldaboath is the brain child of one James Fogarty (AKA Grand Master Jaldaboath) who used to be in cult British black metal band The Meads Of Asphodel. He has teamed up with drummer The Mad Monk (also ex-The Meads Of Asphodel as 'The Mad Mullah') and bassist Sir Bodrick for this project.
Jaldaboath's style is, at the least, quite unique. Its intentionally silly throughout most of the album which is to be expected from a band that lists their main influences as "renaissance music, Brian Blessed and Monty Python". Towards the end of the album the songs take on a slightly darker tone such as in Bring Me The Head Of Metatron (a dig at Meads vocalist Metatron I guess) and Jacque DeMolay in which some extreme growling vocals are utilised in place of the comedic narrative style that is heard throughout most of the album.
I guess the two bands that most obviously spring to mind as comparisons are Bal-Sagoth and Alestorm. The former because the music is incredibly synth driven and bombastic over a black metal guitar base. The latter because this is when all is said and done simply comedy music that, enjoyable as it is, I cannot see standing the test of time, much like the aformentioned Scottish 'pirate metal'. The track Jacque DeMolay also could have some influence from gothic rock such as The Sisters Of Mercy. It certainly has that feel about it!
This is a very strong and very amusing album that should bring a smile to the face of all but the most grim black metal fan. It has wide cross-genre appeal to anyone who just wants a bit of light-hearted music in their lives. True, it may not be an absolutely classic album but its different to most of the stuff being released at the moment and will be a great album to put on at a party when everyone's drunk!

8 stars

Mike Thompson


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