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Blood Ceremony is definitely "too retro," if there is such a thing. The amount of obscure elements from the 1960s and 70s they blindly heave into their music is almost staggering, with flutes, organs, Black Sabbath's traditional doom metal and female vocals all working together underneath this ritualistic effort of occult phenomena. Their influences and basic characteristics are fairly outlandish, which should make for an interesting experience, but "Living with the Ancients" surprisingly succumbs to the plight of careless experimentation embracing a musical front with little to no zest. Blood Ceremony's primordial attractions are sadly just primordial, and the scope of fascination clouds through each and every listen.
Sad thing is, Blood Ceremony has an abundant amount of unique characteristics. As I said, Alia O'Brien is, of course, a female vocalist, and there are foreign instruments which conjure an image of a black mass after the original Woodstock. With that being said, it quickly becomes the duty of the listener to expect the unexpected, and that's precisely what Blood Ceremony followers get: flute solos occur more than guitar solos, O' Brien's distinct voice vibrates a gloomy chord of despair and magic, and so on. It's not that these norms are bad in nature, but Blood Ceremony fails to justify them; it all becomes very bland and apathetic. Not to mention the unusual instruments often feel misplaced, and some of the obtuse melodies are almost too goofy to take seriously.
The album starts in tame fashion with "The Great God Pan," a rocking Sabbath-inspired doom cut which sets the tone for "Living with the Ancients." Nice, fun and catchy, but really the only highlight of the record besides "Coven Tree," an authentic slice of Blood Ceremony honestly believing they are from the 1960s. Most of the remaining record carries on, minus anything to hook the listener, and Blood Ceremony's obvious woes move onwards while carelessly plodding through dull, overlong numbers like "Oliver Haddo" and "Night of Augery." The closing "Daughter of the Sun" has a few moments of brilliance, but two-thirds of the listening experience is completely forgettable overall.
Today's lesson is simple: using influence that are unknown or unexpected to most metal fans does not instantly satisfy the musical needs of metal fans. Granted, Blood Ceremony has a formula at hand that really could make for an inspiring and enthralling postulate, but it's the faction's poor application of these atypical ideas and lackluster song writing which ultimately makes "Living with the Ancients" a forgettable, haphazard, inconsistent release. Still, this may be something to check out if and only if you believe Blood Ceremony could reach an interesting peak with their blueprint, but this reviewer thinks it's colder than damp sand.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com