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Blood Ceremony

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Album Review

With '90s stoner rock all but obsolete, or at the very least acknowledged to have long ago peaked, the third millennium's first decade gradually ushered in an entirely new generation of retro-looking bands whose sights were set on invoking the creative spirit and sonic aesthetic of '70s hard rock and metal — often with almost eerie precision. Arguably kicked off — on the metallic front anyway — by Sweden's Witchcraft, this latest wave can now count with Canada's Blood Ceremony, whose eponymous 2008 debut fairly reeks of sweet incense and Mary Jane, while reverberating with foreboding early doom, and obscure heavy prog, for good measure. The slow-building atmospheric synth intro, creeping riffs, and sinister themes of opener "Master of Confusion" quickly proclaim the group's intentions to this effect, but the real surprise is saved for second cut, "I'm Coming with You," which adorns its own doom-laden power chords and Satanic invocations with recurring flute flourishes in the best Jethro Tull tradition. Turns out vocalist Alia O'Brien is the one wielding said Transverse Flute, as well as providing the frequent organ sounds layered all over subsequent tracks like "The Rare Lord" and "Hop Toad," thus providing most of the distinguishing ingredients that elevates the LP above the vintage metal average. Ironically, O'Brien's voice may actually be her weakest instrument, proving merely adequate on most of these tracks; so it's a good thing she brings so many different talents to the table, or else, Blood Ceremony's debut might have turned out significantly underwhelming, given its obviously surprise-free sonic tribute to the pioneering giants of yesteryear (Sabbath, Tull, Bedemon, Black Widow, etc.), frequently amusing, cod-Satanic lyrics. At the end of the day, though, even the band seems to be having a little fun with their occasional absurdities in the name of Beelzebub, and their mastery of '70s heavy rock templates is nothing to look down upon, but celebrated for keeping this timeless period in rock alive and bleeding.


Formed: 2006 in Toronto, Canada

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Taking their name from a 1972 Spanish horror flick named Ceremonia Sangrenta, Toronto, Canada's Blood Ceremony traffic in authentic '70s doom and heavy prog laden with occult themes and occasional folk and psych rock flourishes, none of it betraying the secret of having been recorded over 30 years after the fact. Rather, beginning in 2006, bandmembers Alia O'Brien (vocals, flute, organ), Sean Kennedy (guitar), Chris Landon (bass), and Jeremy Finkelstein (drums) rejected all forms of modern sounds...
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Blood Ceremony, Blood Ceremony
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