Blood Ceremony – Lord of Misrule (Rise Above)

Friday, 6th May 2016
Rating: 7.5/10

Because the retro rock scene is reaching burn-out level (and no, not that kind of burn-out), it would be prescient for its constituents to bring all of their cards to the table. By that, we mean: don’t release average, scene-fitting albums. While it has backfired on Witchcraft (will be hard for them to recover from Nucleus), the bands who have played it straight (Blues Pills, Graveyard, Purson), will probably remain in the same spot as they were before. Canada’s Blood Ceremony appear to be in the same situation with Lord of Misrule, an album that finds the Canucks sounding “English.” (their words), but unable to jostle out of their current slot.

Blood Ceremony definitely went all-in on this English thing. Lord is Misrule was recorded in London, while its concept is to evoke pagan rites and the bizarre mystical underbelly of rural Britain. So there you guy. Alas, this is not some day-tripping psychedelic romp, as Blood Ceremony’s trademark mysticism remains intact during the rollicking “The Rogue’s Lot” and boogie-down of “Half Moon Street.” Vocalist/organist/flutist Alia O’Brien keeps it witchy (of course), proving her mettle on the very-‘60s “Flower Phantoms,” a number that vacuums the band’s mainline dark angle. But O’Brien’s worth extends beyond her vocals, with her flute action remaining the most obvious sonic identifier.

On a slippery slope Blood Ceremony (and gang) reside, for the last few years have shown the retro rock well can easily be tapped to the point of overkill. You’d have to think Blood Ceremony would have more than a puncher’s chance if there weren’t so many others looking to get in through the out door of times of yore, so in effect, Lord of Misrule proves to be more of a stabilizing album than an impact statement.

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