Blood Ceremony Blood Ceremony

Together now for a little over two years, Toronto’s Blood Ceremony have managed to find themselves a cosy home with few peers in the current Canadian music scene. Nicely melding early ’70s metal, prog and a bit of Canterbury folk, the band have created a nine-song debut that sounds way more like 1969 than 2008, but have done so without sounding ironically retro. Led by the vocals of multi-instrumentalist Alia O’Brien, who also handles keyboard and organ duties, their sound reminds the listener of early ’70s occult fare like Coven, especially on the mellower songs, as well as both Black Sabbath and Black Widow. For the most part, the band keep things on the heavier side, with loads of bludgeoning, heavy, Sabbath-esque riffs that would make Tony Iommi quite happy. The secret weapon is the infusion of O’Brien’s flute into the mix. It might have you thinking, "too much Jethro Tull” before you hear it but it has been arranged nicely and isn’t overused here like it is by those prog dinosaurs. A good debut, hopefully this is only the first in a long line of strong, interesting and challenging records from this crew. (Rise Above)