Blood Ceremony
The Eldritch Dark


4.2
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
July 17th, 2013 | 41 replies | 7,877 views


Release Date: 05/27/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The old ways remain.

Everything old is new again. While it's increasingly more difficult to come up with anything revolutionary or novel in rock music these days, many young musicians happen to be fascinated by vintage sounds, blazing the new trend whose chief principle implies that the more old-school your style gets, the better. Toronto's Blood Ceremony are among the most notable purveyors of this philosophy. Their music sounds like it was recorded at least 40 years ago, harking back to the early days of progressive rock. It's a curious mesh-up of traditional hard rock and Canterbury folk that feels complete with an unmistakably pagan aesthetic showcased by mysterious mood and witchcraft-inspired lyrics. These attributes clearly place the quartet in the realm of such acclaimed current acts as Christian Mistress, Purson and Ghost.

The third full-length record of the outfit The Eldritch Dark is a remarkably solid collection of occult-rock tunes. The songcraft is often on par with the old masters, and the musicianship the band displays proves always compelling. Sean Kennedy's thick guitar tone finely complements Lucas Gadke's sinuous bass lines and Michael Carrillo's tight drumming. However, it's multi-talented Alia O'Brien who's the quartet's catalyst. She may not possess the most impressive voice in the business, yet her husky croons sound refreshingly melodic. Moreover, the flute and organ parts she provides are absolutely essential ingredients of the band's sound, transforming your typical vintage rock into a much more dynamic and nuanced affair. The flute's trembling instantly recalls Jethro Tull in its blissful melodicism, while the organ chords colour the music with an ominous vibe that makes it feel like the soundtrack to a classic horror film. The lyrics, which tend to derive from gothic and Victorian tales, only enhance the foreboding atmosphere.

Not only is The Eldritch Dark reminiscent of Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull and Coven sound-wise, but also retains the format of the old vinyl records. Containing eight tracks and clocking in a little more than 40 minutes, the presentation is admirably focused and almost filler-free. It also captures Blood Ceremony working as a collective more than ever before, which results in the outfit's most eclectic effort to date. The opener “Witchwood” might be the most representative track on the disc, striking an ideal balance between mysticism, infectiousness and complexity. Kicking off with the pensive flute solo, “Goodbye Gemini” evolves into a rollicking tune that enchants with its memorable chorus. “Ballad of the Weird Sisters” makes good use of folky fiddle which contrasts with lively flute passages, whereas “Lord Summerisle” is way more subtle, revolving around Kennedy's tender acoustic guitar and Gadke's sorrowful vocals to deeply contemplative effect.

In terms of songwriting prowess and production, The Eldritch Dark is undoubtedly the best executed release from Blood Ceremony thus far. Adroitly oscillating between creepy and seductive, the album makes for a ravishing piece of occult-rock revival that draws from its retro influences with great artistry and aplomb.




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user ratings (41)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
fish.
Contributing Reviewer
July 16th 2013



20200 Comments


so this is like a 2.3 then

Digging: YG - My Krazy Life

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 16th 2013



17336 Comments


its no brand new thats for sure

Digging: Monolake - Interstate

Eclecticist
July 16th 2013



3863 Comments


but guys they kno how to flute

Uranium
July 17th 2013



6633 Comments


that flute intro in goodbye gemini is terrific

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



5611 Comments


Good review.

The only hiccup with this band are the female vocals which imho are not as good as in Jex Thoth or The Devil's Blood.

This was nominated album of the month in the Greek Metal Hammer.

The eponymous album was just decent, however Living With The Ancients was fantastic so I will definitely check this one too.

Digging: Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



7160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I'm quite surprised you didn't review this. I don't like Living With The Ancients quite as much as this, and it's more consistent than this Jex Thoth album you're digging. So, definitely give this a whirl.

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



5611 Comments


I'm quite surprised you didn't review this

Now that you've mentioned it, I'm surprised too haha.

Seriously now, real life has come down on me real hard recently, plus I have a ton of albums I've been listening to for months and need to be reviewed (along with 1-2 requests which I haven't forgotten ;)) so inevitably some stuff will be temporarily "neglected".


and it's more consistent than this Jex Thoth album you're digging

In terms of instrumentation and song arrangements I can see your point, although thick/multi-layered song arrangements are not always needed to create awesome vibes. The new Jex Thoth album is the perfect example.

When it comes down to female vocals though, Blood Ceremony are nowhere near Jex Thoth, The Devil's Blood or Purson.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



7160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I see what you mean, but Alia's vocals have vastly improved on this album. They are much more memorable now. Plus, I really dig the multi-layered arrangements here.

The video for Goodbye Gemini:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHhpJLZwZqg

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2013



1776 Comments


Need to get this album. I saw the video for "Goodbye Gemini" last night and the band's music really mixes beautifully with mesmerizing images. I loved the band's last album as well as their debut, so this is definitely one for me. Great review too man.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2013



14492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thought i was watching The Wicker Man when i clicked on that vid

Digging: Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



7160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks Robert. It's an improvement over their last album imo.

Yeah. They definitely channel the vibe of The Wicker Man on this LP. Also, Alia looks smoking hot in this vid.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2013



14492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just off to slaughter a goat be right back

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



7160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

alt summary: let the devil inside



menawati
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2013



14492 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

tis a funny vid, laughed out loud at that devil face on the drumkit, cool song tho going to check the album out

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



7160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

They actually have this picture as their facebook avatar. It rules!

MrElmo
July 17th 2013



1950 Comments


Nice vintage video, the last Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats dissapointed me so I'll be sure to check this out for these hot days to come

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



7160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

I also didn't like the last Uncle Acid. This is quite different. It's got this old-school prog feel to it.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 17th 2013



18195 Comments


Great review, Greg.

Gonna check this out at some point.

Digging: Benoit Pioulard - Hymnal Remixes

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



9468 Comments


Cool, man. Dig that opening paragraph

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
July 17th 2013



3155 Comments


Now that The Devil's Blood is gone (unfortunately) and Uncle Acid don't seem to step out of their comfort zone (the new album is more of the same, which is nice, but it wears off really fast), Blood Ceremony are one of the few bands in this niche to look forward to. Great review, that's a really nice introduction!

Digging: Amplifier - Echo Street



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