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Blood Ceremony

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Blood Ceremony
Blood Ceremony live in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall.
Background information
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresHard rock, psychedelic folk, progressive rock, doom metal, occult rock, stoner rock
Years active2006–present
LabelsRise Above, Metal Blade
MembersAlia O'Brien
Sean Kennedy
Lucas Gadke
Michael Carrillo
Past membersChris Landon
Jeremy Finkelstein
Andrew Haust

Blood Ceremony is a Canadian rock band formed in 2006 in Toronto, Ontario. Blood Ceremony's style has been described as "flute-tinged witch rock" and their lyrics are filled with black magic imagery and references to classic horror films.[1] Their music has been also characterized as hard rock,[2] psychedelic folk,[2] progressive rock,[3] and doom metal.[3][4]

The band is fronted by singer/flutist/organist Alia O'Brien, whose flute solos are reminiscent of Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson.[5] Torontoist has called Blood Ceremony "Toronto's most original band".[2]


The band was created by O'Brien with guitarist Sean Kennedy, who is responsible for most of the songwriting.[6]

The band's self-titled debut studio album was released in 2008,[4] followed by Living with the Ancients in 2011,[3] both on Rise Above Records. The albums were reissued on Metal Blade.[7]

Blood Ceremony spent the latter part of 2009 touring throughout Europe with Electric Wizard.[3] During the latter part of 2011 and the early part of 2012, they supported Ghost on their European and North American tours.[8]

They have since released two additional albums, The Eldritch Dark (2013, Metal Blade) and Lord of Misrule (2016, Rise Above).

O'Brien received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 7th Canadian Screen Awards for "Ghost of Love (Onakabazien Remix)", which she cowrote with Sook-Yin Lee and Adam Litovitz for Lee's film Octavio Is Dead!.[9] She also performs as a member of Badge Époque Ensemble.[10]

Blood Ceremony's 5th full length album, The Old Ways Remain was released in May 2023.


Blood Ceremony's style has been described as occult rock,[11] and by their label as "flute-tinged witch rock".[1] In a 2011 interview on Finland's NukeTV, O'Brien called their style "heavy rock" and claimed that their distinct sound is the result of each band member having different musical influences. She cited late 1960s and early 1970s progressive rock as crucial to her inspiration, called Jethro Tull her "very first, favorite band", and also listed Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Osanna, Pentagram, Witchfinder General, Electric Wizard and Pagan Altar as having a major impact. Guitarist and songwriter Kennedy called Blood Ceremony a "folkier Sabbath",[12] and cited "heavier Black Sabbath", 1980s doom metal and British folk artists such as Pentangle and Fairport Convention as influential.


  • Alia O'Brien - lead vocals, flute, organ
  • Sean Kennedy - guitars
  • Lucas Gadke - bass, backing vocals
  • Michael Carrillo - drums
  • Chris Landon - bass
  • Jeremy Finkelstein - drums
  • Andrew Haust - drums


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Peak positions Certification
2008 Blood Ceremony  –
2011 Living with the Ancients  –
2013 The Eldritch Dark 34
2014 Let It Come Down (single)  –
2016 Lord of Misrule  –
2019 Lolly Willows (single)  –
2023 The Old Ways Remain  –


  1. ^ a b "Rise Above Records". Rise Above Records. 2011-03-07. Archived from the original on 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  2. ^ a b c Semley, John (2011-04-01). "Blood Ceremony Summons You to the Sabbat | news". Torontoist. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  3. ^ a b c d "Reviews | Blood Ceremony". The Quietus. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  4. ^ a b "Blood Ceremony CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 2008-08-25. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  5. ^ "Audio Interview with Alia O'Brien of Blood Ceremony - hardrockhaven.net". Archived from the original on 2017-03-21. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  6. ^ "Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives - Blood Ceremony - Living with the Ancients". The Metal Archives. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  7. ^ Crawley, Simon. "The Metal Forge >> Review >> Blood Ceremony - Blood Ceremony (Reissue)". Themetalforge.com. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  8. ^ "Ghost going on tour w/ Ancient Wisdom & Blood Ceremony (whose new LP is out now) — 2012 dates". Brooklynvegan.com. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  9. ^ "Twenty-seven SOCAN members earn Canadian Screen Awards 2019 noms". Words & Music, February 8, 2019.
  10. ^ Vish Khanna, "Badge Époque Ensemble, Badge Époque Ensemble". Exclaim!, June 10, 2019.
  11. ^ "7 Occult Rock Bands That Are Way Fucking Better Than Ghost". Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  12. ^ "The Quietus | News | PREVIEW: Temples Festival". The Quietus. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  13. ^ "Blood Ceremony discography". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 July 2013.

External links[edit]