Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark. 2013 Canada

Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark. 2013 Rise Above (UK)

CD issues: 2013 Rise Above (UK); 2013 Metal Blade (USA)

The Eldritch Dark sees Blood Ceremony improve on the already excellent Living with the Ancients. The doom metal Black Sabbath component has been reduced, and a decidedly more typical 1969/70 tone has been adopted in its stead. Oh yes, it's still a heavy album - just not as overt as prior. Organ, mellotron, acoustic guitar, fiddle, and flute are more prominent than prior. From a compositional perspective, the band took a page from the early 70s UK folk rock playbook of Mellow Candle and Fuchsia. And Blood Ceremony are now fully admitted into the Post psychedelic, proto progressive with female vocals club. As I said on my Living with the Ancients review, Ian Anderson wasn't the only one walking around with a flute in England in those days - it was a fairly standard instrument in the 1970 English rock landscape. So you may find comparisons to Tull compulsory, rather than accurate.

Now a word about Alia O'Brien's vocals. Throughout the album, I was reminded of someone very specific. But I couldn't figure it out. Then it hit me. All I needed to do was look at my own list above. It's Silvana Aliotta of Circus 2000, who no doubt was influenced by Grace Slick herself. And the first time I read a description of Circus 2000, her vocals were said to be "witchy". How appropriate, then, that O'Brien has a similar voice. Not sure if it's intentional (probably not), but definitely a cool voice to possess.

All the changes Blood Ceremony implemented on The Eldritch Dark are for the better as far as I'm concerned. Even the lyrics have improved. It's still witch stuff, but at least they seem to be taking it more seriously and professional than prior.

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