Personnel: Alia O'Brien (vocals, flute, organ); Sean Kennedy (guitar); Andrew Haust (drums, percussion); Lucas Gadke (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Sanford Parker.
Recording information: Electrical Audio & Semaphore, Chicago.
Photographer: Kate Young .
Canadian retro-rock quartet Blood Ceremony plod the same groove worn deep by Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and other blues-rockers in the late '60s and early '70s. Their debut CD was a pretty decent effort, except for the vocalist, who was flat and tuneless. She's gotten better on this one, and her flute playing has improved, too; she multi-tracks herself on "Coven Tree" to excellent effect, sounding almost Ian Anderson-ish as the band cranks up the ultra-analog blooze/proto-metal riffage behind her. This record's sound is impeccable; it really could have been recorded in 1971. They even get the boxy drum sound right, something modern retro-rockers never manage. The lyrics are satanic hokum, calls to the Black Mass and whatnot, much like the similar Sabbath Assembly project, which set hymns written by post-hippie cult the Process Church of the Final Judgment to acid rock riffs. Living with the Ancients will absolutely appeal to fans of early-'70s proto-metal, but Electric Wizard fans should check it out, too; the band's songs have a similar incantatory power. ~ Phil Freeman