Jess and the Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat [Svart Records - 2013]Jess and the Ancient Ones is a Finnish psychedelic rock band that formed in Kuopio in 2010. The band has released two albums so far, the self-titled ‘Jess and the Ancient One’s’ in 2012 and now the 2013 follow up EP ‘Astral Sabbat’.
Featuring the talents of female vocalist Jess plus three guitars, keyboards, bass and drums the band kick up a storm in authentic seventies style with echoes of bands such as Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hammond organ driven greats like Frumpy.
‘Astral Sabbat’ is a 24 minute EP which kicks off with the jaunty rock/pop of the title track. This really does have the authentic feel of 60/70 prog pop with a rolling guitar/organ riff which made me think of the theme from The Munsters! A great rabble rousing opener with a really catchy chorus to punch the air to. Rock but with a keen pop sensibility! Great!
Following next is ‘Long and Lonesome Road’ which continues the 60’s theme by being a cover version of a song originally recorded by Dutch progsters Shocking Blue, most famous for their hit song ‘Venus. I haven’t heard the original but this sounds authentic with the Hammond driving the song along in fine style with some great guitar work and Jess’s vocals here sounding very like Grace Slick joining Deep Purple!
The band stretch out on final track ‘More Than Living’ which is more laid back and bluesy, with a feeling of classic Southern Rock. Neil Young is evoked here with fuzz guitar meeting acoustic guitars and a plaintive but powerful performance by Jess. There is a nice development as the track progresses and it reminds of Lynyrd Skynrd on their longer pieces where they let things flow and grow though it never becomes too manic.
Overall then a good EP which won’t break any boundaries but will appeal to fans of both recent metal like Blood Ceremony and those of us old enough to remember the original stuff.Dave Biddulph