Occult doomsters Blood Ceremony are back with their third album of pagan & black magic themed material, and showing no signs of slowing down as the creative juices just keep flowing. The Eldritch Dark is an accomplished work, once again seeing influences of Black Sabbath, Comus, Jethro Tull, and Deep Purple lurking in the shadows, but the band is really starting to come into their own and develop their own style.
Lumbering, heavy doom tracks like "Witchwood" and "Goodbye Gemini" contain plenty of bewitching vocals from Alia O'Brien as well as thunderous guitar riffs, Hammond organ, and flute, but once you get to the folky, pagan drenched "Lord Summerisle" (no doubt named after the character from The Wicker Man movie), the acoustic guitars and Mellotron come out for a haunting, intoxicating element. "Ballad of the Weird Sisters" mixes Tull styled folky guitars & flute with passages of heavy rock bombast...again, it's like a midnight jam between Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple, and the guest fiddle from Ben Plotnick adds an intriguing touch. Sean Kennedy's crushing riffs and O'Brien's swirling organ provide a menacing attack on the Pentagram influenced title track, and "Drawing Down the Moon" might be the most prog styled tune of the bunch, complete with nimble bass lines from Lucas Gadke, tricky drumming courtesy of Michael Carrillo, Kennedy's mix of heavy riffs and bluesy fills, and soaring vocals & tasty organ passages from O'Brien. The pastoral "Faunus" is a gorgeous instrumental for all you Jethro Tull fans out there, led by quirky flute and stabbing guitar solos, and the CD comes to its conclusion with the majestic "The Magician". Featuring chilling, occult driven lyrics and a devilishly snarling vocal from O'Brien, this one sounds like it was recorded back in 1971, its heavy riffs drawing from both Pentagram as well as Black Sabbath.
With all these '70s inspired bands flooding the scene these days, it's nice to see many of them starting to assemble some nice bodies of work and really building on that. Blood Ceremony are certainly near the top of that list, and they've delivered a real stunner here on The Eldritch Dark, their third and easily their best release to date.
2) Goodbye Gemini
3) Lord Summerisle
4) Ballad of the Weird Sisters
5) The Eldritch Dark
6) Drawing Down the Moon
8) The Magician