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Album of the Day 10/25/13: Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark

Chip McCabe

11:19 AM EDT, October 25, 2013

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What was once old is now new, or so says the music industry.  As trends come and go in mainstream music circles the gritty underground world of metal and rock have seen their own resurgence in musical styles that once found a home on the stereos of audiophiles in the 60's and 70's.  One such movement that's gained huge amounts of steam over the last five to seven years is the "occult rock" sound.  Like all great scene movements, as they grow in popularity, there will be pretenders to the throne.  But fear not those looking for some occult rock guidance.  Canada's Blood Ceremony has returned in 2013 with a brand new album in hand that will return them to the head of the pack, and rightly so. 

The Eldritch Dark, simply put, is going to be one of those reference point albums in the history of occult rock and doom metal.  20 years from now when we look back on the albums that defined just how good a genre could be this will be one of them.  2008's self-titled debut and 2011's Living With The Ancients were both outstanding affairs in their own right.  But if the question is, "Who's the best occult rock act in the world right now?", then The Elditch Dark resoundingly answers the question for us.  

Blood Ceremony is fronted by Alia O'Brien, one of the most haunting and alluring women in rock today.  Her mesmerizing vocals are matched by both her flute and organ playing that punctuates and accentuates the vibe this band is laying down.  The rest of the band consists of Sean Kennedy on guitars, Lucas Gadke on bass and Michael Carrillo on drums.  The three of them together create the scenery for the stage that O'Brien is dancing across like some witch's sabbath held deep in a foreboding wood.  Where the rest of the band have formed this amazing musical cauldron, it's O'Brien's flute, organs and voice that stir the brew.   

Every track on this album feels like an exercise in black magic.  If you don't feel like you've stumbled upon some secret ritual after just one listen to this album then you weren't paying attention.  It's an album that hearkens back to the ways of old for sure, when the universe was filled with mystery and spirituality had more to do with communing with Mother Nature rather than some man-made deity.  Musically speaking, Blood Ceremony will probably be the first to tell you they are following in the darkened footsteps of acts like Black Sabbath, Coven and Black Widow - groups who frightened as many people as they excited once Charles Manson and Altamont brought a final decisive end to the peace and love of the 1960's.  But Blood Ceremony are also carving out their own legacy, one that this album will go a long way to formalizing.  As O'Brien sings in album opener "Witchwood", The old ways remain and the ancient gods live on...

The Elditch dark is out now on Rise Above Records/Metal Blade Records.  To get a sampling of the potion Blood Ceremony is serving check out the official video they did for the track "Goodbye Gemini".