Horror, folk and witchcraft: Introducing Blood Ceremony
They might favour 70s-style threads and psychedelic beats, but there’s a lot more to Blood Ceremony than nostalgia. From their fascination with British folklore to their Jethro Tull-influenced
Canadian quartet Blood Ceremony’s style emulates 1970s prog rock and 1960s psychedelia while skilfully flirting with occult imagery and Hammer Horror-influenced lyrical themes; and it all started with the inclusion of a flute.
“I guess the band really started when Alia [O’Brien, singer and flautist] came to practice with her flute,” muses guitarist and lyricist Sean Kennedy. “We started messing around with different riffs and we realised that it sounded really cool when she played along. We went from there and started writing songs that went in that kind of direction. That was really what developed our sound I guess – psychedelic riffs and flute.”
Indeed, with her enchanting looks, powerful voice and Jethro Tull-style flute solos, Alia is a captivating and unique frontwoman. She and Kennedy started the band 10 years ago, which is completed by Lucas Gadke on bass and Michael Carrillo on drums. They’re just about to release album number four, entitled Lord Of Misrule, the follow-up to 2013’s The Eldritch Dark. It’s a bewitching blend of doom and psychedelia, that’s rooted not in the culture of their Canadian homeland, but in English soil. Not only are they signed to a British label, Rise Above Records, and recorded Lord Of Misrule with producer Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios in London, but their close relationship with England is also reflected in the lyrical and musical themes of the album.
“A lot of our influences for this album come from British folklore, and we recorded the album in London. It put that British stamp on it for us,” says Kennedy. “This is the first time we were able to record entirely to analogue tape. So if you buy the vinyl version of the album, it has never been digitalised from the tape, to the mastering, to the vinyl. It was such an exciting way to record the album.”