Friday, March 18, 2016

Blood Ceremony – The Lord of Misrule

So dig this. Going back to the ancient Romans, and as recently as the 18th century, there was a Feast of Fools, and someone was appointed as the Lord of Misrule during this period of time. In Roman times, the Feast lasted for thirty days, and the Lord of Misrule was in charge of all the partying and revelry. Slaves would become masters and serve in political offices, and masters would be slaves. The downside of being the Lord of Misrule, though, was that at the end of the thirty day Feast, he was killed. Yikes!

In the case of this release, “The Lord of Misrule” does the slaying, courtesy of a brilliant performance from Blood Ceremony. I'm not a big fan of doing the whole “recommended if you like” thing, but to put them in context, if you like Death Penalty, Lucifer, The Oath, and to add a little more depth, Ruby The Hatchet, basically the whole retro sounding rock band with a female singer, you'll have an idea what this band is like. What I like about Blood Ceremony, though, is that they take the retro thing a little farther back. These guys and gal have more of a late 60's retro feel, almost like some heavy, psychedelic pop at times. Other times they are just heavy.

Another distinction is that they make use of the match of a flute with heavy music. When I think of that just on its own, it never seems like it would work, but man does it ever work in this case. Alia O'Brien does triple duty on vocals, organ and flute and handles them all very well. In my opinion it gives them a little separation from the other bands who are doing something similar.

These songs all have their heavy moments, but the heaviness is never overdone and all of the songs have a nice ebb and flow, heavy at times and pulling back in just the right way at others. Even the album opener, “The Devil's Widow”, which is probably the heaviest song on the album, has a nice quiet interlude before launching again into the land of heavy rock.

“The Weird of Finistere” is a haunting, spare song that shows up around the middle of the album and showcases all that the band is capable of. They are able to conjure up just as much intensity with a quieter song as they do with the full on rockers. According to the press release, the lyrics on the album deal with obsession, love and death. If you really listen to this album, you can hear all of that, not only in the lyrics but also in the music itself.

Another favorite track is “Flower Phantoms”. The title comes from a book about a woman who develops an erotic attachment to hothouse flowers. The lyrics show how this type of escapism often leads to death. Not exactly the stuff that you hear in your average song.

This is a fantastic album that really grows on the listener. It sucked me in on the very first listen and draws me in more and more as I spend more time with it. I highly recommend this album as a way to take a break from the usual heaviness and expand your mind a bit.


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