Blood Ceremony's debut was one of my best finds of 2009, and one of my Favorite Albums. The group is one of the most unique bands I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, mixing doom metal with progressive themes and - of all things - flute! It being led by a woman is something remarkable as well, for it's not very often you hear something like this with the haunting melody of female vocals. It all combined to create something truly magical, something that from my first listen, I knew to be special.
With all of the love of their debut (apparently I am not the only one), a lot of doubt has been thrown around for their follow-up, Living With The Ancients, saying that they couldn't hit gold twice. Well folks, let me tell you, you need not worry, what we have here is an amazing album.
Between Blood Ceremony's releases, their sound has evolved somewhat, incorporating different elements and styles throughout, the most notable of which is that it is all a little lighter. Blood Ceremony (album) was a stoner/doom fan's wet dream, with it's chugging melodies and grinding guitar fuzz, Living With The Ancients - while keeping with the stoner/doom - now has a lot of progressive rock elements to it, making the album sound more like hard rock then anything truly 'metal'. There is also some feeling of good ol' rock n' roll, 80s jam metal and jazz. I could see how some fans may be put off by that, but you have to believe that the band you know and love is still here! The occult feeling is still there, as the homage to Jethro Tull with the progressive jazz flute - this time much more complex and notable, battling the guitar for lead instrument - so you needn't worry. They have just matured a bit with experience.
When every song is good as these are it's impossible to pick out favorites - at least on a first run-through. The only song that I could do without is the filler track, "The Witch's Dance." It's an instrumental, focusing on the flute, without any true purpose behind it. But it is only forty seconds long so I forgive it. The only other song that I couldn't get behind was "Night of Augury," for some reason it just didn't speak to me like the rest of the album did. I'm sure after a few more listens I'll fall in love with it, but my initial feeling is one of 'eh.' But besides these bare and basic criticisms, this is a great album.
Honestly, I believe Living With The Ancients to be an instant classic. It may be a little early to say, but after a few more run-throughs I am sure it will be gracing my Favorite Albums list, and thusly a more in-depth article will be had. For now all you need to know is that this is an amazing album and Blood Ceremony is one of the most unique bands out there right now, and their newest album is fabulous.