July 18, 2011

Music Review: Blood Ceremony - Living with the Ancients

Living With the AncientsIn recent months I have learned something, I really dig this 70's throwback style acts that have been coming across my desk. It is not like there have been an overwhelming number of them, but the ones that I have listened to I really like. They benefit from modern production techniques and still fit in with the current music scene. The latest act to fit this bill is Blood Ceremony. They are like the love child of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, complete with flute solos.



This is Blood Ceremony's sophomore release and it seems to have divided popular opinion. There are many who seem to love it, while there is an equal, if not greater number of folks who feel it is a bog step down from their debut. Not having the experience of the first album I have no baggage that would entail. For better or worse, I really like this album. There is something hypnotic and alluring in the fuzzy guitars, haunting vocals, and extensive use of flute and Hammond organ.

Living with the Ancients is a haunting album that exudes darkness, creepiness, and an urge to go into the woods at night, wearing long black robes and spin, arms outstretched starring into the stars. Yes, I mean that. Think about it, some music just seems to be perfectly suited for certain things. It is not unlike when I walk around by myself in New York City, I have found the perfect music to listen to is Goblin. There is just something perfectly awesome about doing that. Likewise, this album makes me want to go into the woods on a clear night, find a clearing, and spin while starring up through the branches into the vastness of space. I do not exactly identify as pagan and do not practice the occult, but this music certainly brings about images of witches covens gathering under cover of darkness.


The band is fronted by Alia O'Brien, who no only sings but also plays keyboard and the flute. I find her voice to be an intriguing monotone. She does not really exhibit a lot of range, but she knows her limits and uses them to her distinct advantage. There is a dark and dramatic quality that draws you in, it is hypnotic, mesmerizing, and even pretty. Her skills as a flautist and keyboardist are also on full display and I love the atmosphere they add to the music. They help make that seventies feel come alive and it has been awhile since I have heard a flute come across with such jazzy menace.

The rest of he bad are no slouches either a they channel early Black Sabbath and even some late sixties folk stylings. Distorted guitars, solid bass and drums rhythms, the occasional atmospheric solo, and plenty of old school rifting make this an easy one to groove to.

Overall, Blood Ceremony is certainly a band to keep. An eye on and if you like other retro acts like Electric Wizard or Ghost, then this band will. Be right up your ally.

Recommended.


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