Earlier this year, on March the 25th, the Toronto based Blood Ceremony have released their 4th full length on Rise Above Records. Entitled “Lord of Misrule”, the album is the follow up to “The Eldritch Dark”, released by the same label 3 years ago. Since then, the band released a nice 2 song 7” EP, “Let It Come Down/Loving You” just to keep the public’s attention focused.
Having formed 10 years ago, when the retro occult doom/psychedelic rock scene was just beginning to shape around a handful of selected bands (The Devil’s Blood, Jex Thoth and Black Oath), Blood Ceremony stood apart immediately due to their folk-ish touch, reminding of Jethro Tull, and vocal parts of the charismatic Alia O’Brian.
Blood Ceremony instantly became an attraction and signed a deal with the British label Rise Above Records, home of many great bands that dwell in this retro part of the scene. Their major merit is they did not sink in the sea of mediocrity and improved their style with each album, creating their own style and taking it forward, turning it into what “Lord of Misrule” is today.
“Lord Of Misrule” continues in the same vein as its predecessor, but proves to be their most mature work so far. Taking it further from where “The Eldritch Dark” left it, the 4 Canadians mix their magic brew in the cauldron of the occult, dealing again with stories about the Devil, witches, midnight pacts and folklore tales.
The final result is catchy and groovy, but in a serious way, not turning this album into a happy campfire singalong libation. Most of the songs are a constant dialogue between the guitars and Alia’s flute solos, creating a very special bond with the listener.
Their music reminds me a lot of the movie “The Wickerman”, which probably the band enjoyed very much, since they wrote the song “Lord Summerisle” for “The Eldritch Dark” LP. The album has the same psychedelic, pagan atmosphere as the movie and, even if the progressive accents can be sensed here and there, overall, the 9 songs can perfectly become the unofficial soundtrack of that already cult movie.
From the opener, the 7 minute long “The Devil’s Widow”, it’s pretty clear that the band has not changed and they took the music one step further. The band delivers serious hymns, like “The Rogue’s Lot” or “Lord of Misrule” which intertwine with some baladesque tracks like “Half Moon Street”, “Old Fires” or the beautiful ending “Things Present, Things Past”.
The retro vibe is perfectly underlined by the discrete but an the same time very well placed organ sounds, that add a sinister touch to the folkish atmosphere.
The progress is more than obvious and this time, Blood Ceremony have gathered all the good parts from their previous albums and crafted them into what “Lord of Misrule” is today, a mature and very solid work.
Should we need to wait for another 3 years before a new album comes out? If the result will be at least as impressive as this one, I say yes, let’s wait and then rejoice.
1. The Devil’s Widow
3. The Rogue’s Lot
4. Lord of Misrule
5. Half Moon Street
6. The Weird of Finistere
7. Flower Phantoms
8. Old Fires
9. Things Present, Things Past
Alia O’Brien – vocals, flute, organ
Sean Kennedy – guitars
Lucas Gadke – bass
Michael Carillo – drums
Rise Above Records: http://www.riseaboverecords.com/shop/