The Bloody Mallard – Realm: Album Review

Psych-prog-alt rock outfit The Bloody Mallard, the brainchild of guitarist Tom Walding, shape seven songs to make up the Realm album.

Release Date: 8th May 2020

Label: self release via Onslaught Music

Formats: DL / CD / vinyl (blood red option)

Amidst mention of many mushroom trips in rural Kent, guitarist Tom Walding has moulded a clutch of sonic segments into songs which have become the album Realm. The inspiration of King Crimson that Tom wrote about for our Why I Love features (read his thoughts here) may well have impacted on the seven pieces where he experiments with different time signatures, polyrhythms and harmonies.

Recording Realm was a unique experience,” says Tom. And there’s plenty in terms of scope and ambition in the eleven minutes that greet us in Haemoglobin. However, a striking Tool-styled heaviness and dynamic crop up in the variation in tones and musical themes with the weighty guitar chords and drum battery in Subject To Entropy. An immediate contrast leads to an acoustic passage that’s more akin to meditation and reflection.

The shorter (but less is more) contender for top track, Noble Rot emphasises the heaviness and after having some serious time with the record, those heftier parts are the ones that stand out.

The first part of Ceremonious Sinapsis (i) sounds like an excerpt from Rush’s La Villa Strangiato. The whole piece is worthy of comparison in the way it shifts through different sections that are revisited. Its (sort of) partner Ceremonious Synapses (ii), owes a little more to the Crimson influence particularly in the way the guitar and drum patterns seem to be concentrating solely on doing their own thing before coming together in a chugging link.

Bringing things to a close is the rustic finish of Dawn. It’s a low key finish; not much more than a repetitive pattern on strummed electric guitar. Almost a coda; a brief epilogue, a moment to consider.

Finishing touches are added by drummer Jake Bradford-Sharp and bassist Raihan Rubin, who came in to complete and fill some spaces with their textures. Tom explains how “Jake was allowed ‘off the leash’ with his drumming and gave different versions on every take whereas the bass and guitars were performed more specifically. It was really about trying to find that blend to sound organic and free, but also coherent and together.”

The peaks and troughs of Realm ensure that there’s enough variety in the punchy high points and the moments of refection in the lulls. Creating Realm seems to have been a fulfilling experience and not to draw a line under working together, Tom has said how “Jake and Rai’s musicianship is just at that perfect level between skill and empathy; they know how the songs work and how they need to move. I loved how the songs felt alive when we made our music video to Ceremonious Synapses (ii), I just couldn’t let it end there!” Watch out for some live dates in the future.

PS – LOVE the album art…

Listen here:

The Bloody Mallard online: Bandcamp / Facebook / Instagram

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