The Bloody Mallard are described as a heavy psych, prog and alt-rock project, recalling the likes of King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Baroness, Yob and Elder.

This album starts with a monstrous 11-minute instrumental piece called “Haemoglobin”. I felt the psychedelic element, but most of all I felt the fuzzy post rock sections, mingled in with acoustic and occasionally dreamy melancholic prog. In spite of its length, it was hard to pin down, not that that’s a desirable thing to do. There’s bit of Bossk about it, I thought. “Haemoglobin” somehow seemed the warm-up. “Subject to Entropy” sounds like an experimental session. I could imagine this being on the Old Grey Whistle Test in the days of yore. A thicker sludge develops, before the woozy acoustic line returns and we drift into space, or is it someone’s garden? “Reversion” is a short dreamy piece, evoking a summer’s day down by the river. It leads into the delicate acoustics of “Noble Rot”. The sounds alternates between lush soundscapes and more expansive and explosive post rock. It’s pleasant without sending me into raptures. “Ceremonious Sinapsis I” starts like an old rock song. More Old Grey Whistle Test psych-prog ambience follows. The drumming throughout this album is colourful and snappy, here matching a sophisticated instrumental story of a kind. “Ceremonious Sinapsis” has a bit of fizz about it. I like it. Part II follows, as you might expect, and starts by taking a different, deeper direction. If I liked part I, I liked this more because of its dynamism and expansiveness. Basically “Ceremonious Sinapsis II” is a solid hard rock track with a great groove. The album ends quietly with the dreamy “Dawn”.

Instrumental rock isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and there were moments in this when I felt that The Bloody Mallard needed to stop playing around and get on with it. None of it really blew me away but “Realm” is a nice listen, especially in its quieter passages, and most of the songs have personality.

(7/10 Andrew Doherty)