Blood Ceremony- “The Great God Pan”

Is “darkness” taken seriously anymore, or has it just become a schtick that gets your band labeled “witch house”?

Canada’s Blood Ceremony does reference witches, but they’re not in a house–they’re not in the ghetto either.

The witches on the band’s latest album, Living With the Ancients, would probably be more comfortable in an underground lair, getting ready to sacrifice some poor soul who had wandered in looking for a phone because he car broke down or something.

On “the Great God Pan,” the heavy guitar riffs call back to a time when Black Sabbath and Arthur Brown were some of music’s darkest badasses. A couple more things that make Blood Ceremony’s cauldron stand out are, of course, that organ and Alia O’Brien’s vocals. Her voice was putting me off a little at first, but my reservations are slowly starting to melt away.

Living With the Ancients is out now via Rise Above.

Ghost- “Ritual” ‡ STREAM

Last year, the Swedish band Ghost saw their full-length debut, Opus Eponymous, drop on the UK’s Rise Above Records. The LP even got some pretty high accolades on Rate Your Music, making it all the way to number twenty-two on their best albums of 2010 list.

Maybe the band’s dedication to a classic heavy metal sound is what makes them so attractive, but it could also be their eccentric live shows. Either way, the buzz seems to have spread across the pond, because Metal Blade Records will be giving Opus a US release on 1/18. Stream the track “Ritual” below:

Stream: Ghost- Ritual