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Blood Ceremony - Living With The Ancients CD (album) cover


Blood Ceremony


Heavy Prog

3.61 | 58 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars I had a tough time getting too excited about this album when I first listened to it and even now after several spins I don't find it to be all that innovative or original, but it has grown on me somewhat.

'Living with the Ancients' is Blood Ceremony's second release, and I gather from reading quite a few reviews that I may have an advantage having never heard the first one which generally gets higher marks for energy and range. Alia O'Brien is clearly the driving force in this group, delivering the band's distinctive flute and organ playing in addition to almost all the vocal chores. And like many other reviewers I find her vocal talent to be rather limited. Not so much as to take away from what the band is trying to accomplish really, but strong female vocals, especially in heavy prog bands, is fairly rare and tends to set a band's sound apart in a genre where band relationships are often rather incestuous and separation can be difficult.

The themes are all here for a throwback heavy prog band, including occult references ("Coven Tree", "My Demon Brother" and "The Witch's Dance") as well as fantasy tales such as "Night of Augury". There are also literary references including ""Morning of the Magicians" and the Aleister Crowley pseudonym "Oliver Haddo".

The music here is retro heavy prog of the Black Sabbath variety, and in fact many reviewers compare guitarist Sean Kennedy's riff and soloing style to a less-talented version of Tony Iommi, which I mostly agree with except that Kennedy doesn't play keyboards and doesn't seem to have the wealth of cultural heritage Iommi had to draw on with the much richer early Sabbath material.

The band saves the best for last with ten-minute "Daughter of the Sun" that features several well-times tempo shifts, heavy but versatile lead guitar, a classic sixties heavy bass line and layers of organ sounds that mix a steady stream of persistent chord patterns with improvised sound-effect forays for a curious blend of psych and prog rock and just a tinge of flute thanks to O'Brien's inflected vocals and flute passages.

Overall this is a slightly better than average album that gets a bit of extra credit for being so new. Had this album been released in 1969 it would have likely been lost in a sea of similar and more talented bands. But there's far less in this century that parallels Blood Ceremony, and for that they get some acknowledgement. Three out of five stars and modestly recommended for fans of heavy prog who are looking for something a little newer than all those albums from 1968-1972 that they wore out a long time ago.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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