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4.92 | 5 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2023


01. The Hellfire Club
02. Ipsissimus
03. Eugenie
04. Lolly Willows
05. Powers of Darkness
06. The Bonfires at Belloc Coombe
07. Widdershins
08. Hecate
09. Mossy Wood
10. Song of the Morrow

Bonus tracks:

11. Falling (Iron Maiden cover)
12. Powers Of Darkness (demo)


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

Guest/session musicians:
- Joseph Shabason / Saxophone
- Laura Bates / Fiddle
- Mike Eckert / Pedal steel

About this release

Release date: May 5th, 2023
Format: Digital, CD, Vinyl
Label: Rise Above Records
Catalog ID: N/A

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The Old Ways Remain! And it's good to know that, because for a while there it looked like Blood Ceremony had fallen off of the radar; after consistently putting out an album every 2-3 years, the long quiet from this doom-tinged heavy psych group was beginning to feel ominous. No need to worry: Alia O'Brien, Sean Kennedy, and the reliable rhythm section of Gadke and Carrillo are back. If Blood Ceremony have dialled back the quantity of releases lately, at least they are making sure the quality is top notch, with this occult rock tour de force as usual combining a solid heavy psych underpinning with O'Brien's distinctive presence on vocals, flute, and organ, delivering a defiant folk horror manifesto. Unless you are one of those for whom Blood Ceremony lost their charm when they dialled back the doom metal side of their sound in order to amp up the psych, there's plenty to love here for anyone who's already familiar, and if you're not it's a perfect statement of what thry are all about.
If there is one thing that is disappointing about the latest album from Blood Ceremony, The Old Ways Remain, it's that is has taken so long to reach our ears. It was in 2016 that they delivered Lord of Misrule and, being the latest in a run of exceptionally strong albums, the band seemed like they were at the top of their game. But then they dropped off the map. While whispers of a follow-up started in 2019 with the release of the Lolly Willows single, it's taken until 2023 for the full-length album to materialise.

But since that's the only thing we've really got to worry about with The Old Ways Remain, it's safe to say that Blood Ceremony haven't disappointed with their comeback. In many ways this picks up where Lord of Misrule left off: folksy, flute-laden heavy psych rock that feels straight out of an earlier period of rock music history. They've often been described as sounding like the love child of Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull and while they tend to lean more toward the latter for the last few albums compared to their earlier work, it's a comparison that still holds some relevance. If it actually had been released in the late 1960s to early 1970s, we'd most likely call it proto-metal.

This isn't an album that's going to shock anyone who has heard previous Blood Ceremony albums. Something that is new is that they have thrown in a bit of jazzy saxophone this time around, but mostly this is the fun, distinctive riffs, organ drenched, flute-laden heavy psych we know and love them for. And since they made us wait several years for it, the album goes down a treat. The Old Ways Remain indeed, still valid in the 21st Century.
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.

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