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BLOOD CEREMONY

Heavy Prog • Canada


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Blood Ceremony biography
Taking its name from an Italian horror film, BLOOD CEREMONY is a Toronto-based band that was formed in 2006 by Sean KENNEDY (guitar), Chris LANDON (bass), Andrew HAUST (drums) and Alia O'BRIEN (vocals, flute, occasional organ). In 2008, they released their eponymous debut. While the band never indulged in epic songwriting, cuts like 'Master of Confusion' and 'Hymn to Pan' comfortably pass the five minute mark.

Musically, BLOOD CEREMONY does sound like a mix between Paranoid-era SABBATH's sluggy riffage, with a touch of Stand Up period JETHRO TULL mostly due to O'BRIEN's flute. The result is something that borders on doom metal, but has enough backwards cast psychedelic atmosphere - not to mention O'BRIEN's quasi-operatic vocals - to make it stand out from the rest of the pack. Highly recommended to anyone who likes that late 60s/early seventies gloom metal sound.

- the Whistler -

Blood Ceremony official website

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The Eldritch DarkThe Eldritch Dark
Metal Blade 2013
Audio CD$10.10
$10.09 (used)
Lord of MisruleLord of Misrule
RISE ABOVE LIMITED 2016
Audio CD$8.21
$9.92 (used)
Blood CeremonyBlood Ceremony
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2008
Audio CD$6.54
$22.96 (used)
Living with The AncientsLiving with The Ancients
Import
101 DISTRIBUTION 2011
Audio CD$6.54
$25.95 (used)
LET IT COME DOWNLET IT COME DOWN
Import
RISE ABOVE LIMITED 2014
Vinyl$5.34
$20.51 (used)
Lord of Misrule by Blood Ceremony (2016-08-03)Lord of Misrule by Blood Ceremony (2016-08-03)
RISE ABOVE LIMITED
Audio CD$45.78
Blood Ceremony by Blood Ceremony (2008-08-25)Blood Ceremony by Blood Ceremony (2008-08-25)
101 DISTRIBUTION
Audio CD$55.86
Living with the Ancients by Blood Ceremony (2011-03-01)Living with the Ancients by Blood Ceremony (2011-03-01)
Metal Blade
Audio CD$81.60
The Eldritch Dark by Blood Ceremony (2013-05-28)The Eldritch Dark by Blood Ceremony (2013-05-28)
Metal Blade
Audio CD$46.98
The Eldritch Dark by Blood CeremonyThe Eldritch Dark by Blood Ceremony
Rise Above
Audio CD$76.70
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BLOOD CEREMONY discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BLOOD CEREMONY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.56 | 39 ratings
Blood Ceremony
2008
3.63 | 53 ratings
Living With the Ancients
2011
4.10 | 50 ratings
The Eldritch Dark
2013
3.91 | 64 ratings
Lord of Misrule
2016

BLOOD CEREMONY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BLOOD CEREMONY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

BLOOD CEREMONY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BLOOD CEREMONY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.36 | 5 ratings
Let It Come Down
2014

BLOOD CEREMONY Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lord of Misrule by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 64 ratings

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Lord of Misrule
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars Powerfull occult heavy rocking output from Blood Ceremony, who, in their fourth release, sound as accessible as they have ever done. Sure, the Black Widow feeling is here (especially in the more sophisticated parts such as "The Devil's Widow") but there is considerable difference in the philosophy of the song-writing. Pagan and obscure themes still dominate the lyrics but song durations have reduced by a touch and the heavy rocking riffs are piling up.

Quite a few tracks would easily stream on mainstream radio (Loreley, Half Moon Street, Flower Phantoms to name but a few) and the overall feel of the album is quite relaxed, the late 60's and Sabbath make their mark across the whole album; the doom references are nearly obsolete (exception is the haunting "The Rogue's Lot") and replaced with a street rocking/psych tempo with brilliant flute passages and the economical use of the organ. Other great moments can be found in the title track with its twin melodies and tempo changes, and the beautifully sung "Weird of Finistere". The vocals are exceptional and the filters applied agree with the psych sound the band wants to produce.

There are very few flaws to find on this album, which can be streamed more than pleasantly in its entirety, but there are also few elements that would make it trully exceptional or help it reach masterpiece level. Warmly recommended for heavy rock/prog/retro rock followers, this would be an album that could spin quite a few times in your player.

3.5 stars

 Lord of Misrule by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 64 ratings

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Lord of Misrule
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After their second album, where they doubled down on their Black Sabbath influences, Blood Ceremony began a process of shifting from a doom metal foundation to their music to a style of heavy psych that more closely fits the Black Widow-y, proto-metal-ish, folk influenced, demonically possessed aesthetic they've been going for since their debut. On Lord of Misrule that process has been completed, and the band has crafted an honest-to-goodness dimensional portal to an alternate 1970s, where they now reside and send albums back to us. Once again, Alia O'Brien's the threefold talent to watch here, with her vocals, organ, and flute really bringing the band's sound together. Even better than its predecessor.
 Lord of Misrule by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 64 ratings

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Lord of Misrule
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by The Jester

4 stars In The Lord of Misrule the band seems to be in an excellent form, with the band's composing and performing skills being at a high level. As for their singer Alia O'Brien, she sounds better than ever. The album includes 9 songs and has a total running time of almost 45 minutes and as far as I know it is available in CD and vinyl version. - The Devil's Window is the album's opening song and it is the longest and heaviest track here. In my opinion it brings to mind the sound that the band had in The Eldritch Dark. And I'm writing this, because although the main style remains the same, I think that in the Lord of Misrule the sound of the band is 'lighter' and more melodic. (Always in my opinion). - The Devil's Window is followed by Loreley that has a beautiful melody and is one of the album's finest moments. - The Rogues' Hat begins with a heavy Sabbath-influenced guitar riff, and it sounds like it belongs in the 70's. - Both The Lord of Misrule and Half Moon Street are upbeat with catchy melodies and nice guitar work, but I like Half Moon Street a bit more I must say. - The Weird of Finistere is the first slow song of the album and it is a pleasant change with its mellow and 'dark' melodies. - Flower Phantoms is kind of a surprise, because it sounds like it doesn't belong here. A kind of 'funky' song which I don't care for, and in my opinion, it doesn't add anything to the album. - Old Fires is another heavy song, with a 'killer' guitar riff, supported by the sound of the organ in the background. - Things Present, Things Past is the second cool and melodic song of the album, with the flute being in the 'first line'. The band kept this nice acoustic song as the last one, which is a very nice choice.

Concluding this, I should say that the Lord of Misrule is a very beautiful and well structured album, which I enjoy listening to a lot! One of the best albums of 2016 so far without a doubt!

My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars.

 Lord of Misrule by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.91 | 64 ratings

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Lord of Misrule
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Lord Of Misrule, the 4th album from Canadian Occult rockers Blood Ceremony sees them once again taking a step away from the heavier first two albums, even more so than 2013's The Eldritch Dark. Fortunately it doesn't suffer for it and catches a band at the top of their game. In fact it features the band's most accessible songs so far but don't let that put you off because Lord Of Misrule is a remarkably good album.

Opener The Devil's Widow is probably the heaviest song on the album after the opening lightly picked guitar and rimshots give way it's driving riff and at this point you could be forgiven for thinking nothing's changed. The first signs come on second track Loreley with much cleaner guitars and even a melotron and like much of the album, a really strong melody. The Rogue's Lot mixes the two styles and benefits from an arrangement that doesn't sit still for too long. Vocalist Alia O'Brien continues to improve giving perhaps her best performance so far. Also present is her flute but what is noticeable is her keyboard work is taking more of a back seat than in the past. Lord Of Misrule, the song that is, doesn't have any for example.

The melody on Half Moon Street is so catchy it could have been a hit single in the days before the charts were full of sterile crap, i.e., the seventies which anyone who already knows Blood Ceremony will know is where this band belongs, their retro rock sound more prevalent than ever if anything. This is no doubt helped by a totally analogue recording making it an essential vinyl purchase which my copy is, the warmth and full sound really shining through. The Weird Of Finistere with its slow lilt, a contradiction I know, is haunting ' really lovely. Flower Phantoms is a bit of a surprise, almost having a Motown sound, the drums being the typically recognised Motown pattern so prevalent in the sixties. As if to say in case anyone was worried Old Fires find the band in heavier mode again and it's a killer with Alia's Keyboards playing more of a part than on most of the album. The largely acoustic Things Present, Things Past closes, benefitting from another lush melody. Even when electric guitars come in they are very clean.

Having only mentioned Alia so far I've got to say the rest of the band are brilliant. The rhythm section of drummer Michael Carrillo and bassist Lucas Gadke play with real drive where necessary but have the skill to rein things, capable of great subtlety when required. Sean Kennedy's captivating guitar work is very mature, playing exactly what the song requires.

Overall then, Lord Of Misrule is nothing short of a masterpiece. Some may prefer the earlier heavier stuff but the current sound was hinted at on the last single Let It Come Down so I wasn't surprised. I'm equally at home with this or the last two album, all great in their own way. Best album I've heard this year so far.

 The Eldritch Dark by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 50 ratings

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The Eldritch Dark
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by Nightfly
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The third album from Canadian doom/heavy rock band Blood Ceremony, The Eldritch Dark was released in 2013, two years after the excellent Living With The Ancients.

It's very easy to label any band that uses flute and has an early seventies vibe about them as having similarities to Jethro Tull but the comparison is valid here - think early seventies Aqualung era. Also most people pick up on the Black Sabbath influence but with The Eldritch Dark it's less apparent than before with less of a doom element with more emphasis on heavy rock with psych/prog leanings. In Alia o'Brien not only do they have a great singer but a versatile musician (flute and organ) and bassist Lucas Gadke and new drummer Michael Carillo handle the numerous twists, turns and dynamics with ease. Sean Kennedy is an inventive guitarist with an arsenal of great riffs at his disposal, powerful yet very tasteful and restrained when required.

Like all great albums The Eldritch Dark retains a high standard throughout with some truly captivating songs making picking highlights difficult but Ballad Of The Weird Sisters is a good benchmark to show the depth and breadth of the band with a dynamic performance as well as a killer hook. It also benefits from guest fiddle player Ben Plotnick's presence. Lord Summerisle shows their lighter acoustic side and Drawing Down The Moon shows their musical chops off well shifting through many parts. The short Tull-esque instrumental Faunus leads nicely into the eight minute closer The Magician and it doesn't disappoint finishing with a melancholic organ drenched instrumental outro. A great way to close a brilliant album.

I really love the overall sound of this album too. Whilst it packs a considerable punch it has a warmth, at least on my vinyl copy, I associate with the best sounding seventies albums. Anyone who likes the kind of heavy rock that was prevalent in the early seventies really needs to check this excellent album out. Their best yet and easily deserving of 5 stars.

 Let It Come Down by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.36 | 5 ratings

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Let It Come Down
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars Blood Ceremony are a terrific band, and they certainly deserve more reviews on Prog Archives. Let It Come Down is an excellent single. Their sound and influences have been discussed repeatedly by other reviewers, so I don't feel it necessary to do so. "Loving You" is a good cover of a band that is even more obscure than Blood Ceremony! It's always good when one of your favorite bands leads you to other music that's unfamiliar. Of the two songs on this single, I prefer the band original "Let It Come Down". Although it's not as complex as their other music, it is more representative of what Blood Ceremony normally sounds like. If this single is any indication of what their next release sounds like, I am definitely looking forward to what's coming; Although Let It Come Down is not quite up to the level of their other three albums, I'm giving 3 1/2 stars rounded up to 4 for this single by a great Heavy Prog band.
 The Eldritch Dark by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 50 ratings

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The Eldritch Dark
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars I am surprised at the relative neglect of Blood Ceremony by my fellow reviewers here at Prog Archives. I'm glad that Warthur, one of my favorite reviewers, has given Blood Ceremony the attention they deserve. They're more progressive and better qualified for a spot here at the Archives than some other bands. However, that's a discussion for the forums, not for the reviews section of Prog Archives.

Perhaps the reason is because Blood Ceremony's music isn't extremely complex. Their "Black Sabbath sung by Grace Slick with added flute" sound also hasn't changed drastically over 3 albums. There is some progress on The Eldritch Dark. It's nice to hear Sean Kennedy's very listenable voice on one of the tracks. It sounds like there is some good viola or cello playing on "Ballad of the Weird Sisters". It could be a keyboard, but it sounds a whole lot like a string instrument. In fact, "Ballad of the Weird Sisters" and "The Magician" are my favorite songs on the album. However, I enjoy everything on The Eldrich Dark; it's an excellent addition to Blood Ceremony's discography.

 Living With the Ancients by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.63 | 53 ratings

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Living With the Ancients
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars The reason I love progressive music is because I'm always looking for variety. I'm searching for a different combination of elements, something I haven't heard 100 times before. The reason Blood Ceremony is one of my favorite bands at the moment is because they are different from your average "doom metal" band. Alia O'Brien, the singer/ flute player/keyboardist, is the defining element IMO. I won't describe what their music sounds like, because other reviewers have already done so. There aren't enough reviews of Living with the Ancients on ProgArchives. All three of their releases are well worth checking out, but I'm giving Living with the Ancients 4 stars.

Living with the Ancients is a step up from Blood Ceremony's fine debut album. IMO the songwriting has improved. My favorite songs are at the beginning of the album: "The Great God Pan", "Coven Tree", "The Hermit", "Morning of the Magicians". As someone with Asperger's Syndrome, my attention span is naturally short, so it may be that those four songs just appear first!

However, the album is consistently good throughout. The band sustains their songs, which tend to be long by FM radio standards, better than on their first album. The only real complaint I have is that I would like to hear more of Alia O'Brien's skillful flute playing. Her singing, while it doesn't display a significant range, is good and suits the music very well. To wrap things up, Living with the Ancients is a four star album IMO. If you a fan of first generation hard rock, and you've worn out your Uriah Heep records, you'll have a good time with Living with the Ancients.

 Let It Come Down by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
3.36 | 5 ratings

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Let It Come Down
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

3 stars I have fairly recently discovered this band and happy to have found them. This is a 7" vinly single release, of which I only have the digital promo. "Let it Come Down" is the one original composition and "Loving You" is the cover with which they decided to accompany this single, originally recorded by Iron Claw.

Both songs are fairly straightforward, short, heavy rock, compositions, with the original recording showing late 60's psychedelia influences at a mid-tempo with Alia's vocals and flute work dominating the rich and retro sound. The bluesy guitar solo does little to hide the Cream-era inspiration and the whole tune flows brilliantly, resembling the beginnings of heavy rock with a fairly "typical", yet memorable melody. The cover song is fairly close to the original, albeit extended by a minute or so, with more raw power and a hard-rockin' street feeling. The heavy rock/proto-metal riff signatures are showing up and Blood Ceremony don't attempt to alter its character, and throw in a couple more riff and refrain passages as finishing touches.

A nice single release (albeit less proggy) which confirms the relationship of the band with the late 60's/early 70's - "Let it Come Down" is the more interesting of which heavy and retro proggers will enjoy the remarkable flute sections. 3.5 stars.

 The Eldritch Dark by BLOOD CEREMONY album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 50 ratings

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The Eldritch Dark
Blood Ceremony Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Blood Ceremony work further to establish a unique identity for themselves on The Eldritch Dark. Whilst still showing a doom metal influence, the overt borrowing from Black Sabbath is dialled back considerably here in favour of more varied borrowings from classic-era proto-prog, early metal and heavy psych bands. You can imagine Blood Ceremony opening for Vanilla Fudge or Deep Purple, especially with Alia O'Brien's three-pronged attack on vocals, flute and organ enhancing the group's sound. Once again managing to recapture the spirit of Coven or Black Widow without succumbing to mere nostalgia-peddling, Blood Ceremony might be one of the most consistently interesting acts in the witch rock scene they've come to popularise.
Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition.

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