Genre: progressive hard rock
It is an age in which rock music is being rediscovered, and artists look back at the rock scenes of the 80s and 70s for inspiration. Perhaps it is a reaction against contemporary mainstream "culture" which seems to reach a new low virtually every day in the form of some lame reality TV show or a new manufactured plastic pop star. Whatever it is, the implementation of 70s and 80s rock elements into present day rock and metal music is definitely something I appreciate.
Take Jess and the Ancient Ones who, on their eponymous debut combine metal-edged hard rock with the psychedelia and progressive spirit of the 70s. And, I must say, it works pretty well. With a fuzzy guitar distortion and a central organ (perhaps a Hammond or perhaps a digital emulation thereof), there is no doubt that Jess and her band members deliberately draw on 70s psychedelic and progressive rock. The big fat drums have more of an early 80s rock sound to them, and Jess' vocals and the distorted bass have a more contemporary feel to them, but it all goes together quite well.
The opening track 'Prayer' is an uptempo rocker, featuring blues-rock guitar solos and a "Born To Be Wild"-esque guitar riffs, while both 'Sulphur Giants' and 'Ghost Riders' are progressive epics featuring Iron Maiden-like twin guitar leads, chucking guitar riffs, and galloping bass figures as well as progressive melodic intros. Less progressive, 'Twilight Witchcraft' also features twin guitars, while '13th Breath of the Zodiac' is more of an 80s metal/hardrock affair performed with a 70s-oriented mindset. 'Devil (in G Minor)' succeeds where Guns 'n' Roses failed miserably with 'Dust N Bones', and 'Come Crimson Death' is a dark ballad.
Definitely an album that reminds us that hard rock can also be progressive and psychedelic, Jess and the Ancient Ones' debut album is interesting and both multifaceted and focused. If you like your hard rock psychedelic, check out this Finnish band.