Maybe it’s a backlash against the digital age, but not since the early 70s has there been a better time for music that dares to wander off the beaten track to explore the unmapped shady nooks and haunted dells of a forgotten England – a place where folk, doom and metal combine with landscape and mythology to chilling effect.
Blood Ceremony may hail from Toronto, but on their third album they sound more English than ever, The Eldritch Dark evoking the spirit of folk greats Fairport Convention and Pentangle but with the heavy foundations and fluttering flute of Jethro Tull at their peak. Fittingly, Christopher Lee’s charismatic star turn in The Wicker Man is referenced on Lord Summerisle, whose pastoral tones wouldn’t sound out of place on Paul Giovanni’s original soundtrack – an influence that’s evident in a plethora of current bands, including Blood Ceremony.
Ballad Of The Weird Sisters displays a Celtic influence, while the Ghost-like funereal organs and juddering riffs of the title track reminds us that Blood Ceremony are as much inspired by Sabbath as anyone. Though limited in range, singer Alia O’Brien is the Florence Welch whose voice won’t drive you to murder. And, hey, such limitations didn’t stop Ozzy.