Blood Ceremony – Review

bloodceremony200Blood Ceremony

(Rise Above)
by Craig Regala

Dreamy, dirt-gaze doom with female vocals, ethereal flute, and spooky organ. Blood Ceremony definitely love acid-whatnot from ’68 to ’72 and owe a huge dept to black & white horror movies from the pre-rock era. Yeah, I guess it’s abstracted from Tull/Sabbath and possibly other stuff I barely remember (Coven? Lucifers Friend?). While developing upon the well-trod path as a revival band is good, you gotta BE something: The next step. To wit: Tull’s Ian Anderson was a huge Rashann Roland Kirk fan (jazz genius who’d often overblow two or three horns at a time. Invented one too, called “the stritch.” It sounded like it). Alia O’Brian, probably not. Her job is to take post-Tull rock flute into folk-doom-haze modern and make it something. That something reminds me of what punk bands did with rock: Go for the one basic element you loved about those bands and intensify, extrapolate, and refine that thing into, uh, well yer own “thing.”

That’s ok if the stuff you chop’n’channel gives you the ability to focus upon some elemental “thing” from yer influences (as St. Vitus did with Sabbath doom, or Pantera with Van Halen), moving into the same emotional terrain as the music morphs into the current world. Also, Blood Ceremony, has awesomely stupid lyrics. Not topics, lyrics. This is a plus for hilarity’s sake, but too much “tell, not show” in the words. They conjure up Spinal Tap’s “Stonehedge” scene as well as anything has in the past 15 years. Ah, Pan, we barely knew ye. But really, that’s like 1% of the value of such a thing. Totally as an aside, is this a compare’n’contrast thing: Like Enya is to rock as Blood Ceremony is to grind? Put your pencils down at 11 o’clock sharp!

Blood Ceremony harken a gauze/dope funereal feel, a numb patchouli womb, a safe place for thoughts thunk by church burners of a previous decade. The singer sounds more like Rush’s Geddy Lee than, say, Sandy Denny (fantastic genre-defining folk rock singer best known for her work with Fairport Convention, The Strawbs, and Led Zep. Talk about yer death-folk murder ballad shit, she nailed it.) Blood Ceremony should appeal to the “witchy” elements latent in the shoe-Goth-gazer thing. Call’m Mazzy Sabbath, if you like, or Witchfinder Star. Spin with Jex Throth, Witchcraft, Pentagram, early Sabbath, Lucifers Friend, Coven, and whatever hippie-doom folk you have laying around the apartment. Incense? Required.