Monday, March 7, 2016

Blood Ceremony : "Lord of Misrule"

They have been getting better with each album so expectations are high with this one. Their last album saw them getting away from doom into a brand of progressive rock more like Jethro Tull. The opener does have a darker vibe than their last one, but it it's pretty upbeat for the bulk of the song. In the final few minutes it takes some twists and turns into some creepy riffs before building up into a doomier punch. They continue to turn back the clock with an almost 60s Jefferson Airplane like groove on "Loreley". Despite the vein the go in here their singer sounds less like Grace Slick on this album, not that she was ever trying to to be a clone. Her melodies are at the same time both darker and poppier . They go back and flirt with their doom roots on the harder accented "the Rogues Lot", which continues to find the band heading in a heavier direction than the last album. Granted it's still in proto-metal territory, but the guitar has more attack. The solos through have a very rock god timelessness to them. On this song the drummer also proves he can lay back and stick to the pocket or give more of a prog flash to his playing .

Vocalist Alia O'Brien has a richer rock tone to her voice this time around. She sounds more self assured. The vocals sit well in the mix, the over dubbed harmonies are never over done.  The album was recorded to tape so it has an even more organic sound than the last album. The title track has lots of flute and has almost more of a boogie to it. It's hard not to bob your head to it. "Half Moon Street" dances with more of a pop skip to it. The guitar jangles more than it chugs, though the guitar solo at the reminds me of "Free-Bird". One thing I noticed during this song on my second pass through the album, is the songs are more tightly written and there is less of a jamming feel.   The more psychedelic "the Weird of Finistere" was written during the sessions for their first album, but is now surfacing. They take another turn to 60's Brit pop on "Flower Phantoms". The vocal arrangement is really interesting and makes it one of the album's best songs.

Not quite metal, "Old Fires" has more power to it and rocks harder than the other songs on the album.  The back off from there to close the album out with an acoustic song. Lyrically it's more interesting than where they go musically with it. Most of the songs are full of pagan metaphor and folk lore, this one is a little more heavy handed in the "occult" than the others. At the end of the day aside from Alia's singing nothing really sets this song apart, it could be "Last Dance With Mary Jane".  Right not I'll give this one an 8.5 and see how it grows on me. My expectations were a little lofty, I like the fact it's darker, but some of the songs ride the middle of the road. This album comes out March 25th on Rise Above Records.

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