Monday, September 03, 2012

Jess and the Ancient Ones-Jess and the Ancient Ones

Svart Records

This 7-track affair has actually been out for more then a few months, but I'm just now getting around to tackling it. Call it boredom or being business or both, but it is what it is and here we are in September staring at a release from May that may or may not be extremely cool. Honestly I can't quite decide how I fall on this one.
For the uninitiated out there Jess And The Ancient Ones are an occult rock band from Kuopio, Finland. Lead by one "Jess" it almost sounds like some sort of bad bar joke. An "enigmatic front woman and three guitars" walk into a studio...yeah, so this is nothing really new under the sun. Coven was doing some of the same mojo back in the 60's although whereas Coven leaned more on psychedelic rock Jess and the Ancient Ones are said to draw their influences from heavy metal and rock groups such as Mercyful Fate, Roky Erickson, Iron Maiden and (yes that's right folks!) even ABBA. As the promo says "lyrical concept is based upon the personal occult experiences of the writers" so yes, it's all kinds of spooky. Or it's supposed to be. More then anything it comes off as more groovy then spooky which is fine by me. Imagine another world, another place and time I guess, in which Black Sabbath was the biggest influence of ABBA. But, instead of leaning on pop or disco ABBA instead leaned more on straight-ahead rock. That about sums up Jess and the Ancient Ones music-wise. Vocals wise? Well, Jess reminds me of someone, but for the life of me I can't pinpoint it. Oh yeah, that is going to drive me bat-crazy tonight. I'd wager it is more a rock artist then a pop one. She certainly has a bit of 70's/early 80's grit in her voice although, as stated, I cannot for the life of me remember where I heard that voice before. Regardless this is one of those releases where I enjoy it sure enough, but is it epic and brilliant or just one of those deals where I would listen to it for a week or so and then put it aside and have it collect dust? More then likely the truth falls somewhere in between.

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