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Blood Ceremony - Lord Of Misrule CD (album) cover


Blood Ceremony


Heavy Prog

3.68 | 96 ratings

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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.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


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