Jaldaboath- The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2010

After leaving The Meads of Asphodel, singer/songwriter James Fogarty returned with an all new band called Jaldaboath. Like his former band, Fogarty’s new creation has medieval themed music and lyrics but takes them to even further extremes. Jaldaboath’s debut full length The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts is equal parts satire and historical and combines elements of traditional heavy metal with Renaissance music and a little folk metal. It’s a very strange combination but one that some people might end up really liking if they are into the slightly cheesier side of metal.

The important thing to remember about The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts is that this band does not take itself too seriously and because of this you shouldn’t either. Although there are songs that take a slightly more serious look at the Templar Knights and other themes from the medieval period, it should be noted that this album tends to lean more towards the satirical. Song titles such as “Axe Wielding Nuns” should give you what to expect from Jaldaboath and if you can embrace the overall cheesiness then chances are you will enjoy what this effort has to offer. The vocals follow suit and for the first half of the album they are higher pitched and seem to have taken influence from bards and other ancient songwriters. This performance oriented direction suits the bands well and makes them genuinely fun to listen to, which isn’t something that can be said about many of today’s fantasy driven metal bands. However, towards the end of The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts the vocals get a lot more serious and this actually takes away from the album as it makes Jaldaboath feel a little too similar to the other groups out there.

As I mentioned earlier, Jaldaboath combines traditional heavy metal and Renaissance music together with some other influences. There are some power metal and folk metal sections throughout the course of the album, but they are never prominent enough that the group could be categorized under these genres. What I like about this band is that even though the riffs themselves are fairly simplistic, there are a lot of additional elements added that give the songs much more flashiness. Some of the songs even sound as though they could serve as a film score for a satirical film, and when combined with the vocal arrangements this becomes even more prominent. However, as with the vocals the instrumentals go through a major mood/tone shift by the second half of the album. The instrumentalists seem to head into much heavier directions at this point and it creates a sense of confusion as to what sound the band is truly going for.

The contrast between the first and second halves of The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts won’t keep listeners from enjoying it, but it does make Jaldaboath seem like a band that is heading off in two opposite directions rather than really fleshing out one particular sound. If you’ve found power metal and some heavy metal to be too cheesy for you then you may want to avoid this band as they really take it to new heights, but I have a feeling that people that are into the folk/power metal scenes will really appreciate Jaldaboath. Overall, the group is off to a solid start and with a little more refinement they could achieve a cult following in the years to come.


Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by Napalm Records

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