Jess And The Ancient Ones – Jess And The Ancient Ones

Though an album which is no rush to immerse and transfix the imagination, the self titled debut from Finnish occult rock band Jess And The Ancient Ones is a real highlight of the year. The release is quite stunning, a collection of songs which wrap their skilled charm around the senses for an experience of melodic splendour and captivating majesty. Quite a few debuts have stood out already this year but very few as elegant and inciteful as that from Jess and the Ancient Ones.
The band was formed in 2010 by guitarists Thomas Corpse and Thomas Fiend, their intent to explore magical realms beyond the mundane. The band grew with third guitarist Von Stroh, bassist Fast Jake, drummer Yussuf, and Abraham on keyboards being added alongside the stunning vocals of Jess. Their sound is an evolved fusion of psychedelic rock and metal with wide influences from the likes of Mercyful Fate, Roky Erickson, Iron Maiden and Abba adding inspiration and texture to their imagination. Signing with Svart Records in 2011, the band released debut single ‘Breath of the Zodiac’ to great acclaim inspiring eager anticipation for and rewarded by their album.
‘Prayer for Death and Fire’ opens the release and right away has the senses fully awake and enamoured. The song is a wonderfully crafted piece of melodic enticement which smoulders within the primal energies of riffs and rhythms. Once the glorious voice of Jess weaves its mesmeric charms and the rumbling and scowling bestial lines of Fast Jake prowls ravenously, the song moves to a higher plain.
It is a powerful and elegant start which is immediately exceeded by ‘Twilight Witchcraft’, a psychedelic folk flavoured piece of musical shadow. The track has a warmth which is siren like but within its safety a venomous dark energy pervades every second of the rapture, a seductive mistress with black intent.
The album though merely seven songs in length is a full feast of musical alchemy, the likes of ‘Ghost Riders’ and ‘13th Breath of the Zodiac’ offering an unpredictable expanse of emotive energies and persuasive pleasure which envelopes fully.
The album closes with the excellent pair ‘Devil (in G minor)’ and ‘Come Crimson Death’. The first is an irresistible tease of jazz swagger and wanton beauty whilst the last a twelve minute gem of evocative harmonics and inciteful imagery, a startling end to a truly impressive album.

Pete RingMaster

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