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torstai 7. tammikuuta 2016

Jess and the Ancient Ones - Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

Svart Records (SVR446)

Jess and the Ancient Ones is a psychedelic occult rock/metal band formed in 2010 in Kuopio, Finland. The musicians have history in various metal bands. I have followed their career since the beginning, and enjoyed their releases and live appearances very much. Last winter this female-fronted group supported King Diamond on their U.S. tour to a great success. They have also played for example at Roadburn Festival. The band's influences include lots of stuff from the 60s psych rock classics, 70s hard rock & Roky Erickson to (doom) metal and occult/horror rock. Their sound and style has similarities to bands like The Devil's Blood or Blood Ceremony, but they still have an original vibe of their own, especially after the first album.

As you might have guessed, Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes is the band's second full-length release. It has nine new tracks and lasts for 65 minutes. "Samhain" starts off the album with the cool, groovy surf beat that band has been utilizing since the Astral Sabbat 12" released in 2013. There are also some chilling spoken word samples from movies to enhance the ghostly mode of this very catchy horror song about witches. I just love the strong, melodic vocals of Jess, and the vintage sounding organ works really well with the many guitar layers. "The Flying Man" is another great track with definite 70s hard rock/blues vibe. The potential hit song "In Levitating Secret Dreams" brings to mind The Devil's Blood and of course it's an ode to Albert Hoffmann. This is also out on a 7" backed with a Dead Moon cover. The next piece "The Equinox Death Trip" is a hypnotic, dark and pretty straight forward song and one of my favourites with its mind-expanding qualities. "Wolves Inside My Head" is a rather melodic piece that rocks hard later on. A bit longer "Crossroad Lightning" is a slower, atmospheric piece that at first somehow brings to mind the intro of "Come to the Sabbath" by Black Widow and grows and transforms in a great way. "The Lovers" is a short and fast hard rocker, and "Goetia Of Love" a bit different, not that heavy but still creepy track. The album's psychedelic, lengthy master piece is the final track "Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever" that lasts for over twenty minutes. It starts off with some peaceful, beautiful and melancholic piano and Mellotron-like sounds. Then we get some pretty, bluesy ballad stuff, before the track starts to grow around the ten-minute marker and then gets pretty far-out and trippy... There are lots of different, varied parts and moods, really deep stuff. What a great album with superb production, can't wait to see the band live again this Saturday at Ääniwalli, Helsinki!

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