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Blood Ceremony - Blood Ceremony CD (album) cover

BLOOD CEREMONY

Blood Ceremony

 

Heavy Prog

3.56 | 28 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars There are but a handful of progressive rock-styled groups currently active whose work can actually be compared to classic era groups of the 1970s(Astra, Diagonal, Il Bacio Della Medusa, Black Mountain, Wooden Shjips, Wobbler, Arabs In Aspic, Dungen, Hills, Umberto) the rest either producing tacky modern genre readings(The Tangent, The Flower Kings, Darwin's Radio etc) or messy metal(Haken, Pendragon, Opeth, Dream Theatre). And whilst Blood Ceremony - a Canadian outfit who fall somewhere between the jaunty flute- prog of Jethro Tull and the meaty sludge-rock of Black Sabbath - don't quite hit the same excellent heights of the aforementioned list of authentic retro-prog purveyors, their crunchy sound is still leagues ahead of most. Issued in 2008 on the small Candlelight label, the group's self-titled debut mixes punchy guitars, twittering flutes, cod-satanic imagery and Alia O'Brien's powerful vocals with a gruff contemporary edge whilst never losing sight of their 1970s rock ambitions. O'Brien also provides the expansive flute runs that punctuate the hazy guitar riffs that dominate throughout, and although 'Blood Ceremony' does on occasion veer towards ersatz metal territory there's enough instrumental dexterity on show to demonstrate that the Toronto- bred four-piece have real progressive-sized ambitions. As with many albums, both old and new, the opening salvo of tracks prove the most indelible, especially in the form of opener 'Master Of Confusion', a piece that finds O'Brien displaying both her gruff vocal style and impressive flautistry atop a crescendo of Sean Kennedy's groaning guitars. Elsewhere, the fire-and-brimstone approach reaps more rewards with the wiry fills and satanic imagery of 'Into The Coven', whilst album-ender 'Hymn To Pan' stretches the group's formula into a suitably grand, seven-minute mini-epic. Although Blood Ceremony don't deviate too far from their brisk-but-effective sonic blueprint - this is an album constructed almost purely out of dazzling flute passages, tough riffing, black magic-styled wordplay and O'Brien's forceful tones - the slight lack of ambition allows Blood Ceremony to focus on exactly what they do best: rock the hell out. By no means a classic then, but those who enjoy the gritty sounds of fellow Canadian's Black Mountain and the 'Red'-inspired assault of Norway's Arabs In Aspic should feel right at home.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

stefro | 3/5 |

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