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Blood Ceremony - "Living With The Ancients" (CD)

Blood Ceremony - "Living With The Ancients" CD cover image

"Living With The Ancients" track listing:

1. The Great God Pan
2. Coven Tree
3. The Hermit
4. My Demon Brother
5. Morning Of The Magicians
6. Oliver Haddo
7. Night Of Augery
8. The Witch's Dance
9. Daughter Of The Sun

Reviewed by on March 21, 2011

"Blood Ceremony's 'Living With The Ancients' injects new twists into the sound of early Black Sabbath to create a devilishly delightful listening experience."

Though it might be a stretch to call Blood Ceremony's "Living With The Ancients" doom metal, there's no doubt that it evokes the same sort of deliciously lo-fi psychedelic scariness as Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album. A fantastically retro disc that adds some unique instrumental and vocal twists to the classic metal formula, it's a unique listening experience, to say the least.

Singer Alia O'Brien's wispy vocals take the horror movie vocals in an entirely new direction on tracks like "The Great God Pan" and "My Demon Brother." She's quite an able singer, which makes it a bit of a shame that often her vocals are at risk of being covered up by the guitars, drums and keyboards.

Instrumentally, O'Brien makes her presence known in a way that's most unusual to metal — playing the flute. Unlike Tony Iommi or Ian Anderson, O'Brien somehow manages to infuse this most gentle of musical instruments with sheer menace on "The Coven Tree" and "Morning Of The Magicians," playing softly, but hinting at darkness. Her best track on flute is the '60s-style instrumental "The Hermit." She's also quite a capable keyboardist, adding a splendid organ part to the heavy "Night Of Augery."

Guitarist Sean Kennedy blends a more pure psychedelic blues streak with Tony Iommi-style heaviness to come up with a guitar sound that will make your hair stand on end in "Night Of Augery" and "Oliver Haddo." His acoustic playing on "The Witch's Dance" blends perfectly with O'Brien's delicate flute part.

The production on this album isn't modern-sounding at all, which is a mostly a good thing, but does lead to a couple of less-than-spectacular sounding moments here and there. Also, as noted earlier, O'Brien's vocals sometimes get a bit lost on the louder tracks.

Blood Ceremony's "Living With The Ancients" injects new twists into the sound of early Black Sabbath to create a devilishly delightful listening experience. Fans of classic metal and psychedelic rock will find much to love here.

Highs: "Coven Tree," "Night Of Augery" and "The Hermit"

Lows: Vocals are occasionally low in the mix.

Bottom line: An excellent disc that evokes the sound of early Black Sabbath and psychedelic rock.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)