Monday, September 23, 2013

The Eldritch Dark

When all is said and done this year, I expect The Eldritch Dark by Blood Ceremony to by sitting at the top of my favorite records of the year list. They are one of the many bands that Spotify has recommended to me since I started using the service.

I have mentioned them a couple times here. First when I
saw them open for Kylesa; second when they made my mid-year report. In case you're just tuning in they are a four-piece from Canada fronted by a keyboard and flute playing lady. Naturally she is fine but that is honestly just ancillary to the music, which is a cross between Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath. Lyrically it is kind of silly, singing about witches and sorcery and goings-on in related forests, but that's part of the fun. It doesn't waste anytime, as album opener "Witchwood" (of course) demonstrates:

Black magic has come to Witchwood
Their devilry takes place within our lonely woods
Such strange words and stranger visions
Forbidden hymns to summon things one never should

The record continues in that vein. There's more about shape-shifters, and sisters up to no good, and the moon, and the dark, and magicians, and a song about Christopher Lee when he burned up The Equalizer in The Wicker Man. This kind of stuff always makes me laugh a bit. When I was a kid I used to think how dangerous it was to listen to things like Iron Maiden. It was more interesting than what you usually got out of rock lyrics. Blood Ceremony are the same way. The pseudo-witchiness comes across as kitsch more than anything else. It's not scary like Slayer is; when you see Kerry King you get the impression he probably does worship Satan. Blood Ceremony does it with a nod and a wink. And I mean this all as a positive!! Looking at the notes in the record it appears guitarist Sean Kennedy writes all the lyrics. That is somewhat disappointing. Lead singer Alia O'Brien is a looker and it's more alluring to think she wrote them, but that's really a whatever kind of thing. The charm is that you have a pretty girl getting all witchy and singing about devil hymns. She seemed like a nice girl when I saw them live.

The music is great through and through. It's a very folky kind of heavy rock. I've seen them filed under doom metal. It's not really metal...too much gets lumped under metal these days. It has mellow spots where the flute takes over but it has plenty of rock to keep the head banging, but it stays to a very 70s inspired brand of metal. Really very debut record-era Sabbath. The band is altogether tight. Good grooves, good melodies that are both bright yet sinister-esque. Great vocals. Guitarist Sean Kennedy played a beautiful Yamaha when I saw them which inspired me to look into getting one of my own. I found one on eBay which I got for a total steal. Granted mine is the low-end base model wile his was the high-end fancy one, but it plays amazingly well for a guitar I got mainly because I liked the look, so much so it has become my primary gig guitar. Sweet!

Anyway, here's the second track off the record, "Goodbye Gemini."


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