Mar 2, 2013
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Lisa Hannigan – “Passengers” (2011)

Label: ATO/Hoop Recordings/PIAS

Review by Luisa Mercier

Sophomore album for Lisa Hannigan. After seven years spent beside Damien Rice (both in public and private life), the singer decided to start her own solo career and released “Sea Sew” which showed all her talent as songwriter and front-woman. She used to sing only the choirs in Rice‘s records, while here she is allowed to shine and her first musical effort was even canditated to a Mercury Prize.

The present record, “Passenger”, is the evidence of a finally reached musical adult age, a mature album that is strongly connected to the folk of her homeland (Ireland and UK tradition) mixing it with pop influences. Listen to the single “Knots”, for example. Her voice is sweet, soft like velvet and flies over the instruments, the violin in “What I’ll Do” is perfectly matched with her, while in the acoustic ballad “O Sleep” is paired with Ray La Montagne in an inspiring duet. Continue reading »

Mar 2, 2013
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Jess and the Ancient Ones – “Astral Sabbat” EP (2013)

Label : Svart Records

Review by Luisa Mercier

After their high praised self-titled debut, Finnish Jess and The Ancient Ones are back with a elegant new EP. They are a band that can deal with their different nuances, creating a mood, an atmosphere that were so dear to the rock of the Seventies.

The EP is made up of three tracks bathed by a magic breath, a liquid sound that is found also in the instruments. There is feeling, focused on awakening the souls that are sleeping through doomish moments, blues influences and airy keyboards.

Jess‘s voice is not as harsh as that of other female singers in occult rock, but it is dark and mysterious and I love it all the same. Her performance is great, you will get shivers if you are into this kind of music. Continue reading »

Mar 2, 2013
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Blood Ceremony – “Blood Ceremony” (2012)

Label : Metal Blade Records

Review by Luisa Mercier

After four years from the first release, Blood Ceremony, Canadian doom band is reissuing their self-titled album. Sometimes happens that some young, new bands decide to pay a tribute to old school masters. Therefore they compose albums that are very reminiscent of the past, adding their own elements and creating something which is old and new at the same time: an original music album.

This is what Blood Ceremony has decided to do, so we can listen to their omage to the old masters Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram and also the reknown Italian prog rock school of the seventies. We can also find a certain influence of the horror movies of the same period, both in the lyrics and the visual imaginary that the band has been able to create.While the band we have listed as the main inspiration sources for Blood Ceremony lean more on the doom or the prog side, the two aspects are well balanced in their compositions. “I Am Coming With You” is a good example. Continue reading »

Mar 2, 2013
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Arcana – “As Bright As Thousand Suns” (2012)

Label : Cyclic Law

Review by Luisa Mercier

New Arcana record is another long dream, a foggy dream into oniric landscapes opened by a track meaningfully called “Somnolence”. Five years after “Raspail”, the band is back with an album that is even more far away from their main inspiration, Dead Can Dance, and draws from India, Buddhism, from the roots of humanity, though retaining their gothic/dark flavour.

As for the intro, also “Medea” (with an amazing Ann Mari), “Inceptus”, “Infinity” and “The Fading Shadow” are ethnic tinged tracks with the hypnotic percussions of Mattias Borgh made even darker by  Sergio Gamez e Nùria Luis.
Vocals by Ann Mari, Cecilia and Peter Bjärgö are ethereal, light and are just an accompaniment to music, an embroidery that is needed to get the final masterpiece. Arcana once again managed to create an album balanced between darkness and light, shadow and brightess, at the top of dark ambient scene. Continue reading »

Mar 1, 2013
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Arcana – “Emerald” EP (2012)

Label : Cyclic Law

Review by Luisa Mercier

Arcana is a legendary name in neoclassical-ethereal, medieval sounding music and now are back after some years of silence with this 3 track EP..

The songs are classic Arcana.  In “As The End Draws Near”, male vocals chant over a rich layer of ancient music, mesmerizing the audience while female opera vocalising enrich the texture of the track.

“Cage” is a beautiful duet, really ethereal that brings you in another dimension.
Last song, “Precious Stone” is another piece of hypnotizing beauty, where female vocals leads us into a world that existed centuries ago.  If you are an Arcana fan, this release will not leave you disappointed. Continue reading »

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