Blood Ceremony – Lord Of Misrule

pic_Ester Segarra

pic_Ester Segarra

Dancing on the imagination like a village maiden in the throes of a pagan celebration, the new album from Canadian quartet Blood Ceremony is a bewitching and evocative adventure to get wrapped up in. It is called Lord Of Misrule; its title inspired by “a tradition that dates back to Late Antiquity, the Lord Of Misrule or “Abbot Of Unreason” was the doomed figure elected to preside over the Feast Of Fools, an annual Saturnalian bacchanalia in which masters became servants and servants masters, while drunken revelry and strange entertainments pervaded Britain and parts of mainland Europe for 30 days. At the end of the month’s festivities, the Lord Of Misrule’s throat was cut in sacrifice to Saturn.

Its body is a collection of highly provocative and melodically fiery encounters; aural rites and mystical endeavours awash with psychedelic/ acid-folk imagination amidst doom and progressive rock scented landscapes. Exploring the secret corners and depths of rural villages and pagan practices, it is an encounter playing like a sonic Wicker Man of dark festivities from across the decades in tradition and sound.

Recorded to analogue tape with producer Liam Watson, Lord Of Misrule opens on The Devil’s Widow, a song slipping into view upon an inviting guitar spun melody. Its tantalising lure is soon joined by crisp percussion and the magnetic caress of keys, then in turn by the throbbing resonance of bass. It is a masterful beckoning leading into a feistier stroll with vocalist/flautist/organist Alia O’Brien at the helm in voice and melodic craft. The wiry tendrils of Sean Kennedy’s guitar adds fire to the proposal, its rawer touch backed by the dark tones of Lucas Gadke’s bass and the swinging beats of Michael Carrillo. Recently Kennedy called Lord Of Misrulea very English album”, and straight away it is easy to hear what he means as particular British folk hues spice the vivacious energy and melodies sweeping through ears on the wind of the O’Brien’s  flutist craft.

album cover_RingMasterReviewLoreley is next to entice and please ears; electronic pulsing early attraction alongside O’Brien’s ever potent vocal presence and style before a catchy rhythmic swing sparks a livelier saunter to the song. Perpetually, Blood Ceremony fuses sixties, seventies, and other decades of rock ‘n’ roll into their music, the first pair the seeds to the refreshing colour and blues scented shade of this track’s gentle but pungent creative drama.

A fiery air to flaming textures shape the following exploits of The Rogue’s Lot, its darker shadows equipped with sinister threat and hidden dangers as O’Brien and the melodic enterprise of guitars embrace lighter infectious essences in their captivating persuasion. Twisting and turning in energy and dramatic flavours, the track is glorious; a rousing slice of rock ‘n’ roll easy to free a lively spirit and lustful appetite for, much as with the album’s title track which smoulders and tempts next. With raw blues touches colluding with the almost Horslips meets Jethro Tull like folk enchantment which shines within the track’s dark landscape and tale, ears and thoughts are quickly bound up in a theatre of sound and suggestiveness.

An earthy character is shown by Half Moon Street straight after; its air carrying a dirty tone around a less joyfully tempered nature, though hooks and melodies again have a shine to their invitation. With the flute like rays of sun skipping across the darker strains of endeavour, band and song commands full attention before The Weird Of Finistere slips in with an evocative climate of sound and voice becoming catchier and more, if gently, tenacious with every passing minute without ever breaking from its reserved sway.

The wonderful sixties pop inspired Flower Phantoms takes over and quickly steals ears and the spotlight. Carrying a Crystals meets The Ronnettes glow to its contagious pop enterprise, the song flirts and seduces with inescapable success, its warm magnetic revelry aligned to flames of raw guitar and sinew brought beats, and quite delicious.

The album closes with the blues rock fuelled Old Fires and lastly by Things Present, Things Past; two tracks which individually provide resourceful and unpredictable drama within the recognisable Blood Ceremony invention. The first is another spirit arousing incitement whilst its successor is an acoustic hug which simply serenades body and soul for an enthralling end to another highly flavoursome offering from the Toronto foursome.

There is no apparent blood shed at the end of Lord Of Misrule as the tradition dictates but for stirring creative and tenacious fun under the glare of a full moon or dusk shaded sun, the album more than fits the bill whilst increasingly thrilling.

Lord Of Misrule is released March 25th via Rise Above Records.

Upcoming Live Dates:


15 – Paris, France – Backstage by The Mill

16 – Tilburg, Netherlands – Roadburn Festival

17 – Hamburg, Germany – Rock Café St. Pauli

18 – Berlin, Germany – Privatclub

19 – Vienna, Austria – The Chelsea

20 – Munich, Germany – Backstage Club

21 – Madonna Dell’alberto, Italy – Bronson

22 – Milan, Italy – Legend

23 – Olton, Switzerland – Coq D’or

24 – Nurnberg, Germany – Hirsch

25 – Frankfurt, Germany – Nachtleben

26 – Cologne, Germany – MTC

28 – Manchester, UK – The Deaf Institute

29 – Glasgow, UK – Audio

30 – Birmingham, UK – The Rainbow

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cave Mouth – Deep Water

cavemouth_RingMaster Review

Devon is not renowned for its swamps but they must be there as only that kind of landscape could have bred the deliciously sinister and addictively magnetic hues soaking the new single from UK band Cave Mouth. Quite simply Deep Water is a glorious slice of dark rock ‘n’ roll; swamp meets delta blues in the arms of instinctive funk swing and knowledgeable seduction of century old sirens.

cover_RingMaster Review   Influences to Cave Mouth (or CaveMouth, both used by band and all) come from the likes of Prince, ESG, Busta Rhymes, Leadbelly, Jack White, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Jethro Tull, with lyrical inspirations found in the world around the band from politics and religion to nature, and we would suggest the darkest delights to be found anywhere. There are so many potent attributes to the almost primal air and spellbinding invention of the band’s sound, from the bewitching dual vocal union of guitarist Sketchy Lex and bassist Ms. Mo to the primal rhythms stomped down by she and drummer Wreckless Richie, and equally the psyche twisting web of salacious coaxing cast by the flaming saxophone of Mr. Duncan ‘The Hook’ Hook and Lex’s guitar, everything smoulders with temptation. Deep Water is the darkest and most thrilling proposal from the band to date, but one in a line of simply spellbinding traps laid by the band’s mix of blues, funk, and African music infused adventures which includes last year’s excellent Pagan Blues EP.

Bass and beats instantly grab ears, as too the smoky breath of guitar and sultry caress of sax with their almost immediate evocation of the senses. The slight snarl to the voice of Lex perfectly colludes with the rich texture of Ms. Mo’s, whilst in the irresistible chorus a gnarly additional voice evokes dark bordering on demonic mischief from the heart of the song. Like My Baby meets Kobadelta in a coven lorded over by Old House Playground, the song swaggers from chord to thick chord and beat to wicked beat with the instinctive knowledge that it will have the listener enslaved and in rapture from its first touch, and fair to say it does with its melodic tonic and darkly hued resourcefulness, and especially that incendiary chorus and vocal union.

We have many lusts going on at The RR, and Cave Mouth has just become the cause of another.

Deep Water is available from August 19th

RingMaster 19/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rodney Branigan: Muddy Jesus

When first reading of the unique guitar style of Rodney Branigan, and especially his ability to play two guitars at the same time or guitar and piano simultaneously, one has to wonder how much is show and gimmick. Upon listening to his new single Muddy Jesus though you just know there is an abundance of imaginative substance to his songwriting and play, the song an absorbing and inviting piece of musical storytelling to dispel any of those rogue thoughts.

Raised in Texas and now based in London, Branigan since making his debut at Hampton Court Palace in 2007 has shared stages with the likes of Billy Bragg and Jethro Tull, toured with double award winning Show of Hands, and collaborating with Seth Lakeman and Steve Knightley at Glastonbury, to name a few of his highlights. Alongside his music Branigan also spends time and focus on encouraging young people through his part of the Access to Music ‘Band Factory’ team, a project encouraging children to learn directly from the professionals themselves and discover ‘how to be in a band’. His distinct musicianship and skill as well as impressively crafted songs though, has continually drawn growing attention and strong acclaim his way which the new single can only increase.

Muddy Jesus starts with a pulsating bass sound and simple inciteful beats, both aspects resonating within the senses immediately, waking them up fully for the following excellent voice of Branigan. Expressive and openly inviting, his tones bring a flavour and emotive edge to the strong lyrical content, the words easily evoking thoughts and imagery. His guitar play like his vocals, drifts through the ear with firmness and instant engagement, and all these stirring warm steely elements together just makes for a song as a whole a grooved treat to savour. It is a blues/folk delight which with its acoustic atmosphere and warm breath one can only invite deeply inside.

Taken from his forthcoming album, Muddy Jesus is a delicious piece of provocative and finely imagined rock n roll which perfectly shows why Rodney Branigan has become the growing whisper on the lips of so many.

RingMaster 15/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Blood Ceremony – Blood Ceremony

There has been plenty of re-issues of debuts and albums from bands finding  a resurgence in popularity or simply the re-release of recordings that originally had a limited presence and were lost and out of circulation for many years. A varied collective in sound and quality they have been too but even the best of them will find it hard to match the essential quality and vibrancy of the latest from Metal Blade Records / Rise Above Records in the shape of the self titled debut from the Canadian folk/heavy rock band Blood Ceremony. The release is a gem that pulsates and bewitches with a startling array of elements that sees them as part homage to their influences and distinctly unique in the current metal/rock world.

Originally released in 2008 Blood Ceremony is a wonderfully colourful blend of psychedelic/folk/doom and stoner rock punched through with the audacity and attitude of heavy metal. There is so much going on that it is a mesmeric and beguiling release that is mischievous and also deceiving at the same time. The nine tracks within this psychedelia influenced doom rock beast offer up numerous recognisable elements and sound, riffs and melodies that you may think it is just a band wearing their influences openly on their sleeve, which in many ways they are, but without anything more. A focused listen though and you soon realise there has been and is no one fusing these things into their own unique sound like Blood Ceremony, and whether their sounds take a hold of you or not you will not have heard anyone exactly like them.

How to describe them is not a swift thing to do, imagine a bubbling cauldron of the likes of Electric Wizard, Black Widow and Pentagram spiced up with the psychedelic sounds and freedom of The Doors, the downtuned heaviness of Black Tusk, the meaty riffage of Black Sabbath, and the folk inspiration of a Jethro Tull or a Horslips without the Celtic sound, and you are in the vicinity of what Blood Ceremony weave together. With songs inspired by the heart and soul of witchcraft movies, the occult and magick, and Satanism, the quartet from Toronto conjure up fascinating and unavoidable imagery and emotions with their stirring songs and imaginative themes. As the album plays you can just see them playing to a back drop of a modern day Wicker Man ceremony or numerous covens and satanic festivals, their sounds uniting pagan and witchcraft inspired intent.

Formed in 2006 Blood Ceremony carry a heavy 60’s/70’s rock sound borne of sterner modern intensity and as their second album Living With The Ancients of 2011 confirmed it is a sound that whatever your preference in rock music one will find plenty to feast upon. From the opening concussive intro to opening track ‘Master Of Confusion’ on the debut, the band swoop upon and gather up the senses taking them on a part theatrical and wholly absorbent experience. That is one thing about the album, it has a showman feel in a way, the dark themes and sinister tales lacking venom and fear, but offer up glorious fun. The track provokes the ear with belligerent riffs and attitude as it winds its way through the ear to menace and tease the senses, especially from the lovely grumpy bass and expressive keys.

The album is perfectly varied, from the heavy opener ‘I’m Coming with You’ muscles in with a well crafted blend of militant riffs, throbbing energy, and Lucifer spawned pan pipe like flute from vocalist Alia O’Brien. This is the harshest of the tracks keeping a deliberate muscle throughout despite the wicked ‘pipes’ that whip around the bulky energy. Guitarist Sean Kennedy and bassist Lucas Gadke give real heavy fibrous intent to the sound on the album perfectly supported by drummer Andrew Haust, all allowing O’Brien to light up torches of exquisite melodies and add incisive breaks to the weighty atmospheres.

The album is impressive from start to the last devilish wink of its closing note, with tracks like the shadowed ‘Into The Coven’ , the spirit raising necromantic celebration of ‘The Rare Lord’, and ‘Hop Toad’ with its insatiable preying riff and siren like melodic beckoning, rifling through and engaging the senses completely. If you have not found Blood Ceremony yet then here is your chance to jump in at the beginning, time to immerse into their earthy dark world with more burning flames than you could wish for.

RingMaster 30/01/2012 Registered & Protected


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