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Jess And The Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat

Jess And The Ancient Ones
Astral Sabbat
by Spyros Stasis at 14 February 2013, 12:19 PM

JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES strike again. Their debut album, self-titled, was released a few months back and they are already bringing us this excellent EP. To be honest I did not find their debut that interesting at the time, don’t get me wrong, some of the songs were absolutely epic like the colossal “Sulfur Giants” and “The Devil (in G Minor)”, but I guess that the reason that it did not excite me that much was mainly because a lot of other bands seem to do something similar lately. Acts such as JEX THOTH, BLOOD CEREMONY, THE DEVIL’S BLOOD have already shown the way and to me it seemed like JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES boarded a bit too late.

But this is, it seems, is about to change if they continue in the vein of “Astral Sabbat”. Including only three songs (one of which is a cover), the band seems to be much more comfortable with well…everything. The main focus in this album seems to have shifted from doom moments and 70s influences and it seems to be much more heavily 60s oriented.

The opening track “Astral Sabbat” has an almost JEFFERSON AIRPLANE thing going on. Believe me I am trying really hard not to use the word “groovy” here but it is the only way to describe it. It is quite upbeat and energetic, acts greatly as an opener. The next song is quite a surprise, being a cover of a band named SHOCKING BLUE, it actually sounds really close to the original, a quite interesting listen. But the highlight of the EP is the closing track, “More Than Living”, a fifteen minutes opus starting off like a ballad with a really nice acoustic guitar, with a kind of dreamy quality to it, then evolving into a much heavier, almost anthem of a song with Jess great vocals being the highlight, along with the great melodies of the guitars and then turning into a manic beast before it returns to its original dreamlike state.

As to the actual musicianship of the band, everything works together perfectly. By having an overall retro sound on most of the instruments, guitars have that 60s sound to them, the same goes for the bass, keyboards sound is really cool and is able to lift the songs a bit further. And the fucking drums are as groovy (there I said it again) as drums can be. I am not even going to comment on the voice…it is simply flawless. An interesting piece of information by the way, the line up of the band includes founding member Antti Boman (here: Von Stroh) of DEMILICH (and currently member of DEATHCHAIN), along with fellow former DEMILICH bassist Thomas Corpse (also member of DEATHCHAIN) and DEATCHAIN guitarist Cult (here: Thomas Fiend). Personally I find it fucking awesome that these musicians can move so fluently between different genres.

The verdict is quite simple. You need to listen to this EP, no question about it. It is an excellent piece of work, if the band continues in the same vein I am sure next releases will be equally, if not more impressive. I am giving it an 8 out of 10 only because it has two just original songs. Still a fucking great release.

4 Star Rating

1. Astral Sabbat
2. Long and Lonesome Road
3. More Than Living
Jess - Vocals
Thomas Corpse – Lead Guitar
Thomas Fiend – Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals
Von Stroh – Rhythm Guitar
Fast Jake - Bass
Abraham - Keyboards
Yussuf – Drums & Percussion
Record Label: Svart Records


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