Heavy Psych / Traditional Doom Metal • Canada — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of
Blood Ceremony is a band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada whose music encompasses several genres of rock and metal music ranging from heavy psych to doom metal. Folk influences play a big part in their sound, which has led critics to label them as a cross between Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull, whom the band credit as two of their biggest influences along with Uriah Heep, Osanna, Pentagram, Witchfinder General, Electric Wizard, Pagan Altar and Fairport Convention. They took their name from the 1973 Spanish film Ceremonia Sangrienta.

Blood Ceremony released their self-titled debut album in 2008 via Rise Above Records. This early line-up consisted of Alia O'Brien (vocals, flute, organ), Sean Kennedy (guitars), Chris Landon (bass) and Jeremy Finkelstein (drums).

After some line-up changes, introducing new bassist Lucas Gadke and drummer Andrew Haust, Blood Ceremony released their sophomore album, Living with the Ancients, in 2011. The drummer position was not yet
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BLOOD CEREMONY albums / top albums

BLOOD CEREMONY Blood Ceremony album cover 4.29 | 21 ratings
Blood Ceremony
Heavy Psych 2008
BLOOD CEREMONY Living With the Ancients album cover 3.94 | 22 ratings
Living With the Ancients
Traditional Doom Metal 2011
BLOOD CEREMONY The Eldritch Dark album cover 4.67 | 22 ratings
The Eldritch Dark
Heavy Psych 2013
BLOOD CEREMONY Lord Of Misrule album cover 4.62 | 18 ratings
Lord Of Misrule
Heavy Psych 2016
BLOOD CEREMONY The Old Ways Remain album cover 4.77 | 4 ratings
The Old Ways Remain
Heavy Psych 2023


BLOOD CEREMONY live albums

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BLOOD CEREMONY singles (2)

.. Album Cover
4.08 | 2 ratings
Let It Come Down / Loving You
Heavy Psych 2014
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Lolly Willows
Heavy Psych 2019

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BLOOD CEREMONY The Old Ways Remain

Album · 2023 · Heavy Psych
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The Old Ways Remain, the fifth album from Canada’s Blood Ceremony, has been a long time coming. Seven years in fact since the excellent Lord Of Misrule. Since then just a couple of singles to let us know they haven’t left us including the brilliant let It Come Down that I would have liked to have seen on here. If you want that it’s available online or on the probably now out of print 7” single. They say that great things come to those who wait and I’m pleased to say that’s certainly the case here.

Those who loved Lord Of Misrule will also love The Old Ways Remain as on the face of it is a very similar album in style and sound. The difference is firstly it’s an overall heavier album than last time around though it has to be said not massively so. LOM had its heavier moments of course but the nothing as sugary as Loreley here for example. There’s still no shortage of the strong melodies you’d expect to hear from Blood Ceremony though like their most recent single Lolly Willows and Powers Of Darkness. So as expected the sound is more the late 60’s to early 70’s heavy psych sound and little if any trace of their doom past. The Hellfire Club is a perfect riffy opener and they keep the momentum going on the equally compelling Ipsissimus. In fact there’s not a weak song present. The sound gets a bit more whimsical and mellow later on with the short Hecate and Mossy Wood along with album closer Song Of The Morrow, a beautifully haunting and trippy song to end with.

The production is quite dry but suits the songs pretty well allowing plenty of separation and clarity of the usual instrumentation of guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and vocalist Alia O’Briens flute. Everyone does a great job as expected but a special mention must go to drummer Michael Carrillo for his inventive often syncopated drum parts.

To this day, for me, The Eldritch Dark remains Blood Ceremony’s finest moment but all their albums apart from the eponymous debut (not bad by any means) come pretty close in quality and The Old Ways Remain is another essential release in the bands small (so far) discography. Fair enough, we have had the covid years, but hopefully we won’t have to wait so long for the next one.


Album · 2016 · Heavy Psych
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As strange as it may sound to write this on a metal site, Canada's Blood Ceremony seem to be going from strength to strength since taking their music in a less metallic direction compared to their first two albums. While I do think that both the self-titled debut and Living with the Ancients are excellent albums, previous offering The Eldritch Dark quickly became my favourite Blood Ceremony album. That is at least until fourth album Lord of Misrule came along.

Most people seem to be saying that Lord of Misrule is Blood Ceremony's complete departure from their doom metal roots but I can't agree with that for two reasons. Firstly as I see it that already happened on The Eldritch Dark and secondly there's actually several notable doom influenced sections in the tracks here, especially the first song, The Devil's Widow.

One thing that is definitely different on this album is the more back seat presence of Alia O'Brien's organ, which gives the album a different identity to The Eldritch Dark, though the band's style is otherwise unmistakable with plenty of great riffs from Sean Kennedy and of course great vocals and flute work from Alia. The song's themselves are among Blood Ceremony's most addictive and catchy and unashamedly steeped in their love of 60's/70's psych and prog rock. They are like a band out of time in many ways and yet with Lord of Misrule have produced an early gem for 2016, one that I'm wondering if any band is going to be able to better before the year's end.


Album · 2016 · Heavy Psych
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After their second album, where they doubled down on their Black Sabbath influences, Blood Ceremony began a process of shifting from a doom metal foundation to their music to a style of heavy psych that more closely fits the Black Widow-y, proto-metal-ish, folk influenced, demonically possessed aesthetic they've been going for since their debut. On Lord of Misrule that process has been completed, and the band has crafted an honest-to-goodness dimensional portal to an alternate 1970s, where they now reside and send albums back to us. Once again, Alia O'Brien's the threefold talent to watch here, with her vocals, organ, and flute really bringing the band's sound together. Even better than its predecessor.


Album · 2016 · Heavy Psych
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Lord Of Misrule, the 4th album from Canadian Occult rockers Blood Ceremony sees them once again taking a step away from the heavier first two albums, even more so than 2013’s The Eldritch Dark. Fortunately it doesn’t suffer for it and catches a band at the top of their game. In fact it features the band’s most accessible songs so far but don’t let that put you off because Lord Of Misrule is a remarkably good album.

Opener The Devil’s Widow is probably the heaviest song on the album after the opening lightly picked guitar and rimshots give way it’s driving riff and at this point you could be forgiven for thinking nothing’s changed. The first signs come on second track Loreley with much cleaner guitars and even a melotron and like much of the album, a really strong melody. The Rogue’s Lot mixes the two styles and benefits from an arrangement that doesn’t sit still for too long. Vocalist Alia O’Brien continues to improve giving perhaps her best performance so far. Also present is her flute but what is noticeable is her keyboard work is taking more of a back seat than in the past. Lord Of Misrule, the song that is, doesn’t have any for example.

The melody on Half Moon Street is so catchy it could have been a hit single in the days before the charts were full of sterile crap, i.e., the seventies which anyone who already knows Blood Ceremony will know is where this band belongs, their retro rock sound more prevalent than ever if anything. This is no doubt helped by a totally analogue recording making it an essential vinyl purchase which my copy is, the warmth and full sound really shining through. The Weird Of Finistere with its slow lilt, a contradiction I know, is haunting – really lovely. Flower Phantoms is a bit of a surprise, almost having a Motown sound, the drums being the typically recognised Motown pattern so prevalent in the sixties. As if to say in case anyone was worried Old Fires find the band in heavier mode again and it’s a killer with Alia’s Keyboards playing more of a part than on most of the album. The largely acoustic Things Present, Things Past closes, benefitting from another lush melody. Even when electric guitars come in they are very clean.

Having only mentioned Alia so far I’ve got to say the rest of the band are brilliant. The rhythm section of drummer Michael Carrillo and bassist Lucas Gadke play with real drive where necessary but have the skill to rein things, capable of great subtlety when required. Sean Kennedy’s captivating guitar work is very mature, playing exactly what the song requires.

Overall then, Lord Of Misrule is nothing short of a masterpiece. Some may prefer the earlier heavier stuff but the current sound was hinted at on the last single Let It Come Down so I wasn’t surprised. I’m equally at home with this or the last two album, all great in their own way. Best album I’ve heard this year so far.


Album · 2016 · Heavy Psych
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Canada's Blood Ceremony are seemingly going to become one of those bands that never seems to disappoint. I've felt that over the course of their first three albums that the doom metal/heavy psych act have just been getting better and better. In fact I think I would go as far as to include The Eldritch Dark (2013) as one of my favourite albums of all time. With fourth outing Lord of Misrule (2016) they are clearly still riding on that same high, producing another excellent album that in time may even unseat The Eldritch Dark as my favourite by them.

While earlier works had more of an old school doom metal sound akin to early Black Sabbath's slowest work, The Eldritch Dark saw Blood Ceremony shifting to a much more dominant heavy psych sound and that's where Lord of Misrule picks up once more, though I do actually think that this album is a little heavier in places than its predecessor, such as in the opener The Devil's Widow which I think is the closest the band come to resembling their traditional doom metal side, especially during the chorus. Alia O'Brien's vocals also have more of an edge here (though still melodic, of course) compared to the album as a whole, which largely comes across as a lively and jovial kind of album, very far removed from the typical atmosphere of doom metal. Balladry like The Weird of Finistere aside it's still a pretty hard rocking album throughout, with O'Brien's voice and flute being as charming as ever. She seems to just get better with each release Blood Ceremony puts out and is just so fitting for the whole retro psych sound the band has going for them, especially in tracks like the utterly addictive The Rogue's Lot or the short but sweet Flower Phantoms.

One thing that I was wondering about was whether the band would have bassist Lucas Gadke provide some lead vocals again. He took the lead on the song Lord Summerisle from The Eldritch Dark and I thought that worked really well. He doesn't sing on Lord of Misrule though. I want to make it clear that I think Alia O'Brien is an absolute star but I'm actually slightly disappointed that Gadke didn't sing again. I'd have liked to hear how his voice, which is also very good, could have been used some more in the band's sound, especially what kind of interplay he and O'Brien would have had. There's potential there for some sound expansion, not that I especially think they need it but it's always interesting in my book to hear the artists you like try new things and the little snifter that was Lord Summerisle has had me wondering about this since The Eldritch Dark came out. Oh well, guess I'll keep wondering while I listen to Lord of Misrule, which is Blood Ceremony delivering more classic Blood Ceremony. That's something I really can't find fault with.

Much like The Eldritch Dark before it Lord of Misrule is an easy album to rack up the spins on, including playing it multiple times in the same day without it losing any appeal. To my ears they are one of the best rock bands on the planet and they fully deserve all the praise I can give them. With Lord of Misrule they have firmly established themselves as one of my favourite bands. Now to quote a line from the title track go 'eat, make merry and get pissed' (with this as the soundtrack).


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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Awesome band. Fast becoming an all time favourite.


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