Bloody Herald - Like a Bloody Herald Remains
My Graveyard Productions
NWOBHM influenced Metal
9 songs (51:41)
Release year: 2006
My Graveyard Productions
Reviewed by Al

When it comes to art, there’s absolutely no shame in stealing from your predecessors. Almost every great artist, writer, musician and poet throughout history has taken ‘inspiration’ from those that came before them. Closer to home, some examples include the Gothenburg scene who have based a large section of their sound on Maiden and the likes of Machine Head and Pantera who stole wholeheartedly from the Bay Area thrash movement. There’s one maxim to this whole inspiration game however and that is simply this: if you’re going to steal, you damn well better use what you stole well.

The pilfering in question here has been carried out by Italian quintet Bloody Herald, and the victims of this theft are the NWOBHM greats. (Maiden, Mötorhead et al) The band have been around a while. They formed in Milan in 2002 and took a rather staggering four years to release this, their debut album A Bloody Herald Remains. I have no idea what they were doing in that four year space, by the sound of the output frantically listening to Killers over and over again and taking notes.

If you haven’t guessed by now I’m alluding to the fact that the band’s sound in the main is a mite unoriginal. Galloping Steve Harris baselines? Check. Judas Priest style speedy riffing? Check. A vocal style that owes more than a little to Paul Di’Anno? Check. If any more evidence were needed, the band end their website bio with ‘Up the Herald!’ (‘Up the Irons’ being Maiden’s signature motto for the uninitiated) Tip for starting a band, if you must insist on having a motto or slogan, think up one of your own! There are thankfully a few musical divergences thrown into the mix by way of acoustic passages, usually at the start of songs such as in album opener Blood of a Child and the occasional use of almost black metal-esque screeched / growled vocals.

A problem with the album as a whole is that the NWOBHM parts are both dull and uninspired, adding nothing original and failing for the most part to do anything interesting with the template. The whole thing comes of instrumentally as a collection of Maiden or Priest filler tracks or B-sides performed by a cover band. There are few standout riffs, even fewer amazing solos (there are a few noteworthy ones but they are so short and sparse you hardly notice them) and next to no memorable moments. There are a few moments where things do work, such as the title track which features an interesting main riff and the album’s standout drum performance and the wholly acoustic ‘Forest’which is vaguely reminiscent of Opeth’s acoustic material. However these moments are too few and far between to warrant pulling the album out of the mire of mediocrity. That said, mediocre is how I would have rated the album, possibly in the 60’s, if not for one rather large problem. The vocalist, Adam (I cannot find a listing of a surname anywhere) is to put it bluntly, unspeakably annoying. The easiest way to describe it would be to take Paul Di’Anno, add an effeminate whinging inflection to the end of half the lyrics, spice it up with some awful screeching and heavily accent the whole thing. Some of the choruses, such as the one on ‘Demons of the Sand’actively grated on me to the point of skipping the rest of the song, I’m glad to say that doesn’t happen too often.

I do also have one last gripe and it’s a rather unusual one, the name of both the band and the album. Now don’t get me wrong, if a band produces quality music they could be called ‘Semi-Aggressive Sweetie Eaters of the Dusk’ for all I care. (If I see that on an album I’m suing by the way) but not everyone has the benefit of receiving promos and thus some may have to shell out money simply on the strength of a band name / album art. ‘Bloody Herald’ sounds like a twee English attack of mild annoyance on said ‘herald’. ‘Oh goodness Harold, is that Bloody Herald still here?’ Nobody else get that? No? Just me? Never mind then. I could go on to the album title but I’ve been trying for a week to decipher that one, what does it mean? What does it signify? Do I even care anymore?

In summation, if you’re absolutely desperate for some NWOBHM tinged stylings and have run out of decent stuff to the point that something sub par will fill the gap, then by all means pick this up. If not, I urge you with all sincerity to avoid this unless you have the patience of a saint or a quirky device on your stereo to fade the vocals out of the mix. There are far, far better practitioners of this style around at the moment, (see Wolf) and without an enormous injection of inspiration I can’t see this lot becoming one of them.

Killing Songs :
Forest is the best of a bad bunch
Al quoted 40 / 100
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