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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Blood Ceremony - Lord of Misrule

Doom Metal and Occult Rock band Blood Ceremony show absolutely no sign of stopping since their formation ten years ago in their hometown in Toronto, Canada. With three albums in the can on the Rise Above Records label, I always imagine what will they think of next with their follow up. Alia O’Brien is brilliant with her vocals, keyboards and flute playing. And with her fellow comrades including guitarist Sean Kennedy, bassist Lucas Gadke, and drummer Michael Carrillo, she knows that she has got their back and never letting them down.

She’s been very busy as she contributed to a film score with a 2015 documentary film from Banger Films covering the historical origins of Satan entitled Satan Lives which is directed by the same people who did Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, and Super Duper Alice Cooper. But let’s get straight to their new album entitled, Lord of Misrule. The traces of Psych, Folk, Doom, and Prog is still there with the essence of Jethro Tull meets Black Sabbath meets Fairport Convention.

But thrown in The Electric Prunes, Jefferson Airplane, Trees, and Forest, Blood Ceremony know their roots very in their cream of the crop of Prog and Doom. And they know what to get when they shop around for new songs and carrying the torch is showing how much they have come along and I’m very blown away here.

The opener, The Devil’s Widow, is a killer introduction with mid-tempo rhythms, blaring lead guitar riffs and solo, and drums getting the shuttle making a jump to light speed before Alia’s flute shows a bit of the essence of Thjis Van Leer. Flower Phantoms is like something straight out of the first Nuggets compilation as they go into the ‘60s garage rock-era with a hyper mood to jump into the groove with the VOX-like organ sounds, guitars heading into a haunting area.

Lorely is Blood Ceremony’s homage to the late great Harry Nilsson with a touch of British Psychedelia approach capturing the line busy tone from the Rhodes keyboard before to a swirling Beatle-sque ascending Mellotron ending. But I also love their approach of the band doing a waltz. It’s evidential on The Weird of Finistere.

I can imagine both Roxy Music and The Moody Blues working together on a composition like this as if they recorded this between 1969 and early 1970. And it’s such a chilling piece between Alia and Sean together. The double-tracking vocals, echo-reverbed, laid-back percussion, and lyrics dealing of the last rite of the character’s dying scenery.

Old Fires sounds like a chugging yet crunchier roar thanks to Sean’s guitar with it’s pumping riffs, blaring organs, and dramatic lead section in which he goes straight to the sky with his improvisation as he plays both at the same time in the double-tracking section that makes my head bang a bit more. Half Moon Street goes into Doom-Folk-Metal as if Sabbath had teamed up with Comus to create a grittier version of Song For Comus.

The closing somber, Things Present, Things Past makes the atmosphere melancholy to give it a look back on what will happen when we look back on the memories and that remained and either we fly into the previous chapters of our lives or play the last game to decide to make that choice either way. Blood Ceremony have scored for me another home run.

It’s great to see them going into a different direction, but keeping the Doom and Prog approach and showing that it’s still there and with the new album, it’s another classic surprise that makes me just jump for more and here they unleashed it again. Highly recommended.

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