Monday, 30 May 2016

Blood Ceremony - "Lord of Misrule" (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/03/2016
Label: Rise Above Records


If you are new to Blood Ceremony, this album is as fine a place to start as any. If you have heard any of their previous albums and enjoyed them, your enjoyment of this one is guaranteed. This is as good an example as any of a band looking to the past both in terms of musical and folklore tradition to create fantastical and occult inspired music.


“Lord of Misrule” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. The Devil’s Widow
2. Loreley
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

The Review:

Blood Ceremony returns with their latest album. It shares a title with the late Sir Christopher Lee's autobiography and features some of the same atmosphere and sense of macabre theatrics that the great man brought to his films. “The Devil's Widow” kicks things off sounding like, well, Blood Ceremony- that is to say that it sounds like how Jethro Tull would have sounded if Tony Iommi had stayed on playing guitar and Ian Anderson decided to hand over the vocals to a female chanteuse while still playing flute.

The sound is reliably retro and, yes, shimmery. The drums have that 70's sound but with modern muscle in the tones, while reverb is ever present elsewhere. Like Tull, the band makes excellent use of light and shade, quiet and loud.  The rather airy “Loreley” contrasts well with the more leaden “The Rogue's Lot”. Certainly, the band has come on since “Ceremony of the Ancients”- but not so much as to be unrecognisable. Being Canadian, Blood Ceremony perhaps lack some of the authenticity of a band raised in a place permeated by folklore and old main tracks, but that is only if you are aware that they don't hail from deepest Cornwall or some such other olde worlde enclave.

The title track is one of the shorter tracks on display here and features a driving riff and rhythm with percussion and bass driving the groove home with aplomb. One of Blood Ceremony's strengths is their willingness to incorporate Hammond organ, percussion, flute and so on- marking them out as unusual in the “bass-guitar-drums-vox” rigid line ups of most bands; even the retro ones. “Half Moon Street” uses a rather nice syncopated riff and swings along very nicely. The band are not afraid to really slow things down on “The Weird of Finistere” as they take a full-on folk persona.

By contrast, “Flower Phantoms” sounds as if it is straight out of the late 60's with an insistent vocal refrain. “Old Fires” is a straightforward rocker with a juddering rhythm. The intriguingly titled “Things Present, Things Past” is the albums parting shot and it is also one of the best tracks here. Acoustic guitars and echoey vocals coalesce very effectively. Some great lyrics here too (“If there's anything you need... just ask Mephistopheles”- superb!).

If you are new to Blood Ceremony, this album is as fine a place to start as any. If you have heard any of their previous albums and enjoyed them, your enjoyment of this one is guaranteed. This is as good an example as any of a band looking to the past both in terms of musical and folklore tradition to create fantastical and occult inspired music. 

Lord of Misrule” is available here

Band info: facebook

1 comment:

Atropa Hexe said...

Hey, I think you meant to say "Living with the Ancients" not "Ceremony of the Ancients".