Blood Ceremony – “Lord of Misrule” (2016)


Label: Rise Above Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

As well as being the title of this album, “Lord of Misrule”, refers to an elected position in end of year festivities. In “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, by Victor Hugo, the Lord of Misrule is called “Pope of the Fools”. The event called Feast of Fools is central to the opening of the story and the book contains a description of gothic pageantry. To set the scene, let us pause this music review for an extract from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”:

“The 6th of January, which “set the whole population of Paris in a stir,” as Jehan de Troyes relates, was the date of the double festival—united since time immemorial—of the Three Kings, and the Feast of Fools. […] Last of all came the members of the Basoche with their garlanded maypoles, their black robes, their music worthy of a witches’ Sabbath, and their great yellow wax candles. In the center of this crowd the great officers of the Con fraternity of Fools bore on their shoulders a sort of litter more loaded with candles than the shrine of Sainte-Genevieve at the time of the plague. And on it, resplendent in cope, choosier, and miter, sat enthroned the new Pope of the Fools, Quasimodo, the hunchback, the bell ringer of Notre Dame. Each section of this grotesque procession had its special music. […] But it was round the Fools’ Pope that all the musical treasures of the age were gathered in one glorious discordance—treble rebels, tenor rebels, not to mention flutes and brasses.”

Returning now to the music of Blood Ceremony, “Lord of Misrule” is an album with clear doom and classic rock influences. Musically there are songs like “Flower Phantoms” and “Loreley” which seem to have time travelled to us directly from the sixties. But it is today, though Blood Ceremony may be respecting history, they are not letting it constraint them. This is a brilliant collection of songs, from the slower end of the party “Things Present, Things Past” through the ominous “Half Moon Street” and the hard driving “Old Fires”. The last has a heavy riff, thumping drums, guitar and keyboard duets. Any of them could be one of those rare, instantly loved tracks; every song contributes to this procession of excellence. The rock vocals have a hint of venom, instrumentally there is nothing out of place, and neither are there any superfluous adornments. The spell the band weaves is complete.

Though Quasimodo was deaf, the Lord of Misrule would have been an excellent soundtrack to the events of his ascension to Pope of the Fools. Alia O’Brien (vocals, flute, organ), Sean Kennedy (guitars), Lucas Gadke (bass) and Michael Carrillo (drums) have created an evocative experience – listening to the album I imagine the chaotic revelry of the Feast of Fools. In closing, here is a portion of the “Lord of Misrule” lyric to tempt you closer to the bacchanalia: “In the night we exist/Eat, make merry, and get pissed/It’s four o’clock and getting on to dark/There’s a feast of fools in the back of beyond.”

Rating – 92/100



  1. The Devil’s Widow
  2. Loreley
  3. The Rogue’s Lot
  4. Lord of Misrule
  5. Half Moon Street
  6. The Weird of Finistere
  7. Flower Phantoms
  8. Old Fires
  9. Things Present, Things Past


Line Up

  • Alia O’Brien – Vocals, Flute, Organ
  • Sean Kennedy – Guitars
  • Lucas Gadke – Bass
  • Michael Carrillo – Drums

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