Nov 30, 2012

Seremonia - "Seremonia" ...

When it comes to the psychedelic acid rock era of the late 60's many bands to this day are still gathering new fans while dragging their long-time existing fan base along with them. However some bands have been slightly pushed aside or forgotten about. One band that I think fits that criteria is Iron Butterfly of 'In A Gadda Da Vida' fame. Now why in the hell am I talking about this band of flower-power acid pop hipsters?

Well this band from Finland Seremonia remind me of the butterfly in a strange but heavier way. If the truth be told, Iron Butterfly were never a heavy band so why they get the proto-metal tag by some people is a mystery but they did record some heavy tunes that were really ahead of their time for 1968/69 and Seremonia in many respects have tapped into that sound in a small way. Along with 60's psyche-rock and heavy pop sounds, they are also heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, Cream and Deep Purple. If you are looking for a modern reference point then think Ghost, Blood Ceremony and Jex Thoth.

Now the occult rock thing has been taking a bit of a bashing of late from folks growing tired of the whole style as bands become more and more predictable. I am sorry to say this but this Finnish band won't give you fresh hope either. The band who do a good job at recreating the psychedelic, occult rock 60's/70's vibe are obviously good players but it is just what you would expect to hear from a band like this and that is the first of many flaws this album has. Yes they have a female vocalist that sounds like many other females doing this kind of thing. They have short catchy songs with a poppy edge a-la Ghost but rather than worshiping at the feet of Tony Iommi it is Geezer Butler who they seem to take great influence from. The rumbling bass lines are very much in the "Geezer" vein but take that away and you are left with a fairly dull album.

Highlights - there isn't many but 'Rock ‘N’ Rollin’ Maailma' is a catchy heavy pop tune with the Iron Butterfly vibe I mentioned earlier while 'Kosminen Ruumisvaunu' has Deep Purple written all over it. 'Antikristus 666' has child-like, almost sinister chanting vocals that are mesmerizing but everything is so predictable right down the Jethro Tullish flute work - yes they have that as well. 'Hautakiven Varjossa' closes the album in a sabbathy style and is also solid but they ruin it with a overly cheesy flute solo. One of the problems is the album seems half-assed. Half the songs are three minutes or less and the other songs are not much longer so none of the songs have much time to set up any kind of groove or vibe. Even 'Kosminen Ruumisvaunu' which is my favorite tune from the album is over and done with in little over 2 minutes leaving the listener frustrated and wanting a lot more. Seremonia have a lot of good things going for them, fine musicianship, good (although predictable) vocals but need some fine-tuning and an injection of originality. The guitars are nice and fuzzy but they seem to end songs long before they have a chance to build in any one direction. There is great potential here but this misses the mark for me personally. For fans of above mentioned bands....5/10.


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