The last year has brought upon us a swarm of Gothic Black Metal bands inspired by the success of the mighty Cradle of Filth. Naturally it was the prime time for Ancient Ceremony to get signed and release their material worldwide. Granted they have been playing this style of dark and melancholic black metal for years. Gradually progressing from the Swedish-like sound of their debut "Where Serpents Ever Reign", they moved onto a more comtemporary form of metal, namely the one that deals with all things undead yet moving - Vampirism. And what could fit better into their underlying theme than Goth interlaced with a general feel of traditional German poetic romanticism.
Now, Ancient Ceremony were always good songwriters, but unfortunately their instrumental abilities have always left much to be desired. To be rather straightforward, I think that they need a new drummer. He sounds weak and out of the place. The strength of the band lies in their awesome combination of male and female vocals creating a geniune atmosphere of the cemetary kingdom that they belong to. It's all tied in with a healthy portion of keyboard orchestration that plays an important rols in the band's material. They dominate they music and more importantly set the overall gloomy tone. This, of course, keeps the tempo mid-paced throughout the record... but on the other hand, the band has no technical ability to realistically up the pace, so it's an obvious cop-out.
This is all not to say that Ancient Ceremony doesn't write good guitar riffs. On contrary, "Thy Beauty In Candlelight" has a killer underlying guitar line yet the song is dominated by the grandiose walls of keyboards. I must also give an honorary mention to the vocalist Chris Anderle who does a very good job delivering varied lyrical invocations in duet with their female vocalist Sandra. Altogether, "Under The Moonlight We Kiss" leaves an impression that Ancient Ceremony pay as much of a tribute to the NWOBHM as they do to Cradle of Filth. I hear a lot of Iron Maiden influenced riffs in the way the band arranges their melodic guitar lines.
Overall, I must recommend this album to all of you out there who like their black metal darkened with the shadows of the undead vampyres. There is defintely a great potential in this band which hopefully will result in them tightening up their playing abilites. If that happens, their next opus will be nothing short of amazing, as their extravagant songwriting combined with a better execution should leave nothing untouched in its wake. I just hope that Ancient Ceremony won't opt to follow the path of the bands like Moonspell and Co, for that would be nothing short of a major disappointment.