Blood Ceremony – “Lord Of Misrule” (Rise Above Records)
Oh man, how groovy is that flute! This is the Canadian band everyone is talking about right now, the 3 guys and 1 truly talented lady who are mixing early 70s doom rock with late 60s prog acid folk in a very distinctly English and authentic style from those eras. Indeed, the band’s name is taken from the 1973 Spanish film ‘Ceremonia Sangrienta’ and this album was even recorded in London to analogue tape. Now onto their 4th album, it’s easy to see what the excitement is about given how they are bringing together dated but still popular styles into one blinding package! “Lord Of Misrule” takes in the flute and organ of Jethro Tull, mixes in the heavy riffs of Pentagram and adds in the funky psych rhythm of Dutch band Shocking Blue into a modern sound. Formed by guitarist Sean Kennedy, who articulates retro tones and sounds re-created to perfection, and multi talented singer / flutist / organist Alia O’Brien, Blood Ceremony’s captivating material and superior musicianship is undoubtedly driven by these two stars. Originally brought in as a flutist, O’Brien took over vocals and took on the organ when the band’s original vocalist moved to India, and since then has become the core of Blood Ceremony – from her mesmerizing femme vocals that mix wails with sultriness to that pumped organ adding to that funky sound as well as potent atmosphere on the more ambient pieces. Most of all, though, its that dancing flute of hers, very Ian Anderson indeed with its devilish, folkish melodies as they sink their hooks on you on the trippy doom of ‘The Rogue’s Lot’, which soon morphs into a folk dancing feast the likes of which even Pan could not evoke, to the upbeat folk meets epic pomp rock of ‘Lord Of Misrule’. My favorite had to be ‘Half Moon Street’, which starts as light trippy rock and progressively gets heavier in unison with Kennedy‘s guitar, finally blossoming in a full on flute solo that gives way to a frenzied hippy beat, complete with mantra chanting, and both Kennedy and O’Brien going into cosmic orgasm with their outstanding playing. Truly an amazing release that actually had me off my ass, dancing naked to the beat!