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4.67 | 21 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2013


1. Witchwood (6:57)
2. Goodbye Gemini (4:23)
3. Lord Summerisle (3:24)
4. Ballad of the Weird Sisters (6:03)
5. Eldritch Dark (4:20)
6. Drawing Down the Moon (5:19)
7. Faunus (2:24)
8. The Magician (8:02)

Total time: 40:52


- Alia O'Brien / Vocals, Flute, Organ
- Sean Kennedy / Guitars
- Lucas Gadke / Bass, Vocals (#3)
- Michael Carrillo / Drums

Guest/Session Musicians:

- Ben Plotnick / Fiddle (#4)

Release Staff:

- Ian Blurton / Recording, Mixing
- Nick Blagona / Mastering
- Annick Giroux / Cover art

About this release

Released by Rise Above Records, May 27th, 2013.

12" vinyl LPs (single heavyweight, come in gatefold sleeves with metallic print and printed insert):
500 x Colour in colour - opaque red in gold
500 x Solid red
500 x Black
500 x Transparent red
500 x Transparent purple

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The third album from Canadian doom/heavy rock band Blood Ceremony, The Eldritch Dark was released in 2013, two years after the excellent Living With The Ancients.

It’s very easy to label any band that uses flute and has an early seventies vibe about them as having similarities to Jethro Tull but the comparison is valid here – think early seventies Aqualung era. Also most people pick up on the Black Sabbath influence but with The Eldritch Dark it’s less apparent than before with less of a doom element with more emphasis on heavy rock with psych/prog leanings. In Alia o’Brien not only do they have a great singer but a versatile musician (flute and organ) and bassist Lucas Gadke and new drummer Michael Carillo handle the numerous twists, turns and dynamics with ease. Sean Kennedy is an inventive guitarist with an arsenal of great riffs at his disposal, powerful yet very tasteful and restrained when required.

Like all great albums The Eldritch Dark retains a high standard throughout with some truly captivating songs making picking highlights difficult but Ballad Of The Weird Sisters is a good benchmark to show the depth and breadth of the band with a dynamic performance as well as a killer hook. It also benefits from guest fiddle player Ben Plotnick’s presence. Lord Summerisle shows their lighter acoustic side and Drawing Down The Moon shows their musical chops off well shifting through many parts. The short Tull-esque instrumental Faunus leads nicely into the eight minute closer The Magician and it doesn’t disappoint finishing with a melancholic organ drenched instrumental outro. A great way to close a brilliant album.

I really love the overall sound of this album too. Whilst it packs a considerable punch it has a warmth, at least on my vinyl copy, I associate with the best sounding seventies albums. Anyone who likes the kind of heavy rock that was prevalent in the early seventies really needs to check this excellent album out. Their best yet and easily deserving of 5 stars.
The Eldritch Dark (2013) is the third full-length album by Canadian retro rock/metal act Blood Ceremony. This is their first release with new drummer Michael Carrillo. Always a band to have divided opinion on what it is they actually play, no doubt because they sound like they hopped in a time machine from the sixties/seventies and started releasing albums from 2008 onwards. The Eldritch Dark further complicates the classification matter by changing the measures of all the different things going into their cauldron.

I haven't heard their debut self-titled album (2008) but compared to prior effort Living with the Ancients (2011) things are a bit less metal orientated. It may not seem that way at first, The Eldritch Dark is very much recognisable as the work of the same band, but start to dig deep and it quickly becomes apparent that although some may still wish to consider it such, The Eldritch Dark isn't really a doom metal album. Those elements have been stripped back and it really is difficult to fit this album into any metal genre even though their past work is often considered to belong to it. It's still pretty heavy stuff at times but it's more of a hard rock sort of heavy, combined with all the psychedelic, progressive, and folk elements heard in prior work to result in something which is overall best called a heavy psych album. The vibe seems the same between albums, which is definitely a good thing, but the road taken to get there has some different turns in it.

Differences in the overall sound compared to its predecessor aside the quality displayed is of the same high level that Living with the Ancients made me expect from a Blood Ceremony album and even goes one better. The songs take their turns through all the band's different aspects from the rocky, to the folksy and onto the proggy. An early highlight is lead promo track Goodbye Gemini, which is directly followed by the folk ballad Lord Summerisle, in which singer Alia O'Brien is joined on lead vocals by bassist Lucas Gadke. I love Alia's singing but there's some definite chemistry between their two voices so I'd like to hear Lucas singing more in the band. Alia arguably remains the star of this show though providing not just the bulk of the vocals but also the flute and organ, which coupled with Sean Kennedy’s riffs make the Blood Ceremony sound something special.

It takes a great effort to follow an already excellent album with one that is even better, but that's exactly what Blood Ceremony has done with The Eldritch Dark. Retro they may be, but they've more than earned their place as one of the most relevant acts on the scene right now. This is quite the addictive album that's sure to find a place in the collections of rock/metal fans of all ages.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven:
Blood Ceremony work further to establish a unique identity for themselves on The Eldritch Dark. Whilst still showing a doom metal influence, the overt borrowing from Black Sabbath is dialled back considerably here in favour of more varied borrowings from classic-era proto-prog, early metal and heavy psych bands. You can imagine Blood Ceremony opening for Vanilla Fudge or Deep Purple, especially with Alia O'Brien's three-pronged attack on vocals, flute and organ enhancing the group's sound. Once again managing to recapture the spirit of Coven or Black Widow without succumbing to mere nostalgia-peddling, Blood Ceremony might be one of the most consistently interesting acts in the witch rock scene they've come to popularise.

Members reviews

I've been surprised at the relative neglect of Blood Ceremony on other review websites. I'm glad to see so much attention given to THE ELDRITCH DARK here. Doom metal, the subgenre Blood Ceremony is often included in, is not my first choice for listening. However, Blood Ceremony is a great and unique hard rock band. Their "Black Sabbath sung by Grace Slick with flute" sound also hasn't changed drastically over 3 albums.

Enough of me not talking about the album at hand! There is some progress on THE ELDRITCH DARK, which is the hallmark of any great band. It's nice to hear Lucas Gadke's very listenable voice on one of the tracks. There is also some very nice violin playing on "Ballad of the Weird Sisters". In fact, "Ballad of the Weird Sisters" and "The Magician" are my favorite songs on the album. Everything on THE ELDRITCH DARK is truly enjoyable; it's an excellent addition to Blood Ceremony's discography. If you have any love for traditional hard rock or doom-influenced metal, this is the album for you.

Ratings only

  • Alex
  • stefanbedna
  • Psydye
  • MorniumGoatahl
  • Unitron
  • Nick & Simon
  • TheHeavyMetalCat
  • DippoMagoo
  • luanpedi
  • powermetal2000
  • Pintos
  • ElGordoPopochas
  • 666sharon666
  • ChaosAngel
  • Zargus
  • Anster
  • sauromat

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