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Bleak House were a band based in St Albans, Hertfordshire from 1977 to their ultimate break-up in June 1983.

Two EP's were released by the band - 'Rainbow Warrior' in 1980 and 'Lions In Winter' in 1982.

A compilation on Buried By Time / Dust records of all the Bleak House recordings (including rare live material) was released in 2009 under the title 'Suspended Animation'.

Vocalist, Graham Shaw, currently writes and records under his own name purely for his own pleasure.
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BLEAK HOUSE Discography

BLEAK HOUSE albums / top albums

BLEAK HOUSE EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Rainbow Warrior
NWoBHM 1980
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lions In Winter
NWoBHM 1982

BLEAK HOUSE live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bleak House - Live 19890
NWoBHM 2000

BLEAK HOUSE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BLEAK HOUSE re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Suspended Animation
NWoBHM 2009

BLEAK HOUSE singles (0)

BLEAK HOUSE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


BLEAK HOUSE Rainbow Warrior

EP · 1980 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
Metal warrior...

Genre: NWoBHM

Yup, this is the one. The release with the riff that Metallica kind of lifted. Thus, this release shows how important NWoBHM is to heavy metal. Although most of the bands in this movement never made it beyond some demos and a couple of singles, they were hugely influential on groundbreaking bands like Metallica and others who were part of the first thrash metal generation.

And, the music on this release is pretty good. "Rainbow Warrior" is the legendary track that Metallica borrowed the intro riff from, but my favorite part is actually the sort of galloping riff in the bridge, and if I were to lift anything from this song, it would be that riff. The two other tracks "Isandhlhawa" and "Inquisition" are pretty hard hitting heavy metal songs with lots of good stuff in them. I especially like the groovy riffage of the former, and I also appreciate how these tracks are essentially flurries of riffage akin to what Maiden did back then.

This release is recommended for any fan of traditional metal, because it's pretty darn good.

BLEAK HOUSE Rainbow Warrior

EP · 1980 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Welcome Home!

So everyone knows by now that Metallica used the first few bars of Rainbow Warrior as the intro to their song Sanitarium, on the Master of Puppets album.

But not everyone knows just how good Bleak House were back in those heady days of the early NWoBHM - and that's mainly because there just aren't the copies of their first two EPs to go around.

The good news is that they're both available on a recent release called Suspended Animation, which also includes a few songs from a re-discovered live set which was doing the rounds about 10 years ago.

Man, these guys were good and then some - the music could be dreamy and atmospheric, simple and sparse, complex and downright out-and-out heavy when it chose to be, and Bleak House seem to me to have had some kind of natural instinct for where the music wanted to take itself that went beyond yer run-of-the-mill song format.

It didn't always work - some of the various sections of Rainbow Warrior simply don't mesh, as if they were tacked on as an afterthought, then re-stated as if repetition would somehow make it right.

But other sections - and other songs - paint a portrait of a band who SHOULD have made it and SHOULD have caused ripples. The fact remains, fortunately, that they did, albeit through Metallica's insightful and tasteful reworking, which I know I've heard Dream Theater quoting on more than one song - and so the disemmination of great ideas works.

The first part, or main body of Rainbow Warrior is haunting, and special enough in its own right, to be a classic. Yhe change to the next section with that spine-chilling JCM chug works extremely well, topped with the simple but effective vocal harmonies. Where it all goes wrong for me is in those pitiful lead/bass lines whch intersperse the vocal sections.

This is followed up by the guitar solo, an effective, if not impressive effort, which builds up to the sudden drop-down for the atmospheric ending.

Ishandivana, to me, is a much better song, however, full of driving power with that irresistable half-time drum beat and chunky, clanking bass line under the twin rhythm guitar section, like a squadron of Spitfires. The overall pathos is what is so impressive about this piece - the dramatic build-ups and tear-downs, and cascading cliff-drops, providing headbanging nirvana even at varying tempi. There's quite a bit of Diamond Head and early Maiden influence here, but Bleak House stamp their own signature on the music authoritatively.

The EP finishes at this higher tempo in a similar style, such that Inquisistion feels like a follow on from Ishandivana rather than a new song. Again, the music sounds fresh and original, with subtle variations in style that provide a pleasing momentum. The drumming is particularly ear-catching to me.

You probably won't find a copy of the 45, and definitely not for less than £50 - so I'd recommend the Suspended Animation CD over this for that reason alone.

But this is a great EP - one of the very best of the NWoBHM.

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