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April 17, 2014
ORYXDunes of droning hypnotic sludge from the deserts of Las Cruces, NM.
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April 14, 2014
MAMMOTH STORMPlodding, tar-lathered metal-fed groove doom from Sweden.
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April 8, 2014
LADY FLINT Explosive stoner blues rock duo from Marselle, France.
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April 7, 2014
KING DEAD Doomy psyche-tinged spaghetti western sludge from PA.
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April 2, 2014
GROGGYBlues-obsessed fuzzy garage rock duo from Omsk, Russia.
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March 31, 2014
THE SILENT LOWMelodic, hard-hitting, attitude-driven stoner rock from Denmark.
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March 25, 2014
GRAILPsychedelic punk with a southern demonic desert groove out of Texas.
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March 24, 2014
LORD OF GIANTSincere, lumbering, 70's influenced heavy rock from Germany.
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March 19, 2014
WOVOKA Intense yet melodic, brutal gut-twisting post-metal sludge from LA.
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March 16, 2014
Torpedo riffs, hazy grooves and cosmic stoner sleaze from Portland.
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March 13, 2014
Toxic, heavy southern groove metal attitude from Brazil.
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March 11, 2014
Somber, shoegazing post-metal sludge from Columbus, Ohio.
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March 10, 2014
Cosmic, gravity-defying stoner fuzziness from Sydney, Australia
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March 6, 2014
Fuzz-filled, snail-paced riff-praising doom from Denver, CO.
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March 5, 2014
Polish doom band with female vocals is a fuzz worshippers dream
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March 4, 2014
Sleazy, fat and dirty stoner metal riffs from down under.
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March 2, 2014
Newly formed 70's inspired stoner doom band from Brazil.
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Feb. 27, 2014
Expansive psychedelics and dusty grooves from Austria.
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Feb. 25, 2014
Fuzzed-out heavy desert grooves from Catania, Italy.
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Feb. 24, 2014
Get stuck in some sludgey stoner groove from South Carolina. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 20, 2014
Heavy lightning in a bottle stoner boogie groove from Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 19, 2014
Stirring progressive ambient doom from Bath, UK
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Feb. 17, 2014
Intense instrumental sludgefuzz from these Guernsey blokes. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 15, 2014
Swirling hypnotic heavy psychedelic rock from St. Petersburg, Russia. facebook- bandcamp
Feb. 10, 2014
Sultry and somber jazz-laden ambient doom from Genoa, Italy.
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Feb. 8, 2014
Late 60's early 70's influenced heavy psychedelic rock from London.
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Feb. 5, 2014
Death/Doom/Thrash from the mean streets of Adelaide, Australia.
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Feb. 4, 2014
Doomy apocalyptic instrumental Sludge from Istanbul, Turkey.
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Feb. 2, 2014
Spell-binding all-female occult doom from Ljubljana,Slovenia.
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Feb. 1, 2014
Heavy heartfelt psychedelic jams from Heidelberg, Germany.
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Jan. 30, 2014
Riff Heavy Stoner Doom with Southern grit from Athens, Greece
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Jan. 27, 2014
Chest collapsing progressive heaviness from Ventura, CA
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Jan. 25, 2014
Genre-defying atmospheric mood music from Tampere, Finland. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 23, 2014
Freaked-out psychedelic space rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 22, 2014
Swamp-infested grooves and fuzzy desert riffs from Portland,Oregon.
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Jan. 21, 2014
BORDEL INFERNO Gritty heavy rock, solid riffs from Rio de Janiero.
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Jan. 20, 2014
OVERLORD Melodic groove-oriented Heavy Rock from Oxford.
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Jan. 19, 2014
A DAY AS WOLVES Garage-rock inspired bluesy fuzz and roll from Alberta, Canada. Eh! facebook- bandcamp
Jan. 18,2014
NAKED BROWN Hard-hitting Polish heavy rock in the vein of Clutch and Motorhead.
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Jan. 17, 2014
Smoke obsessed Stoner Doom from Slovenia. Free demo.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Album Review - Blood Ceremony: Living with the Ancients

If a modern take on William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was ever written, Blood Ceremony’s Living with the Ancients could easily be its soundtrack. On their latest Rise Above Records release, the Toronto band creates a macabre blend of folk, doom and psychedelia that sounds like it could have been made by the mischievous fairies, elves and other supernatural creatures that inhabit the play’s forest. Of course the primary reasons for such a comparison are the haunting vocals and rustic flute playing of Alia O’Brien. The songs have a mystical aura that conjures up images of Puck, the devilish, Pan-like sprite from the story who had the legs, cloven hooves and horns of a goat.

How appropriate then that the album begins with “The Great God Pan”, a song about a ritualistic séance to resurrect the mysterious pagan figure. The track features a combination of driving doom riffs and supernatural lyrical flourishes before O’Brien’s organ takes center stage and then she and her band mates, guitarist Sean Kennedy, bassist Lucas Gadke and drummer Andrew Haust, go on an extended retro-style jam that lasts for nearly five minutes. This gives way to “Coven Tree”, where we first hear the aforementioned flute. The song has a very 60’s vibe to it, sounding kind of like a fresh take on The Mamas and The Papas. In fact O’Brien’s vocals often remind me a lot of the legendary Cass Elliot from that band. This one keeps the creepy mysticism alive with lyrics about a gathering of witches.

“The Hermit” is a beautiful, folk-rock transition piece that sees the band strumming and grooving around a whimsical flute solo by O’Brien. And then Blood Ceremony gets down and dirty, losing the flute in favor of the weightier organ as they unleash the Sabbath inspired dirge, “My Demon Brother”, definitely one of the heavier tracks on Living with the Ancients. The flute resurfaces amidst the catchy, up-tempo groove that starts off “Morning of the Magicians”. Here, O’Brien’s vocals take on an ethereal quality, particularly during the mid-song breakdown that features another of the singer’s stunning flute solos intertwined with some intricate acoustic guitar plucking by Kennedy. The two are eventually rejoined by the rhythm section of Gadke and Haust and the band picks right back up with the up-tempo groove that started this masterpiece…perfection.

“Oliver Haddo” is a straight forward, riff-driven doom number about a character from the 1908 novel The Magician that is apparently based on Aleister Crowley. Around six minutes into the song, O’Brien and Kennedy enter into an impressive jam session that recalls prog-metal giants Mastodon, if they had replaced one of their guitars with an organ. “Night of Augury” is a definite throwback to the 60’s as it features more of O’Brien’s organ grinding as well as what is perhaps her strongest vocal performance on the album. “The Witch’s Dance” is another brief interlude that features the flute with an acoustic guitar accompaniment and ultimately leads us to Blood Ceremony’s final act, “Daughter of the Sun”. On this one, the band seems to have saved their best for last, incorporating all of the elements that make Living with the Ancients such a fantastic listen, into an epic ten minute finale. The song shifts from hard driving riffs through fantastical sweeps of flute and guitar into organ laced jams and back again, all while maintaining the eerie vibe that permeates the entire record.

On Living with the Ancients, Blood Ceremony have created a vibe…a strange sense of supernatural evil that never quite leaves you as you listen to it. The greatest albums do this…they create a feeling or some sense of emotion that courses through them from one song to the next. The difference here is that it isn’t just the subject matter that lends to the album’s atmosphere…it’s the band’s choice of instruments. The flute has long been associated with devilish spirits like the Greek god Pan and Shakespeare’s Puck. So here’s my recommendation to you. Turn down the lights…fire up the candles and incense…and join in this Blood Ceremony. Who knows…maybe the séance will work and the ancient satyr himself will appear right there in your living room.

Track Listing:

01 The Great God Pan
02 Coven Tree
03 The Hermit
04 My Demon Brother
05 Morning of the Magicians
06 Oliver Haddo
07 Night of Augury
08 The Witch's Dance
09 Daughter of the Sun

Band Members:

Alia O'Brien - Vocals, Flute, Organ
Sean Kennedy - Guitars
Lucas Gadke - Bass
Andrew Haust - Drums

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