Jess and the Ancient Ones - Astral Sabbat
Svart Records
Stoner Rock
3 songs (25'25")
Release year: 2013
Svart Records
Reviewed by Alex

Before stepping up to write this review I revisited the reasons why I was not completely blown away by the eponymous full-length debut by the Finns Jess and the Ancient Ones. Whatever the shortcomings were, and the reasons I might not have been sold on the debut, Astral Sabbat EP follow-up convinced me completely when it gets to this hardworking band. These three songs, one of them a long epic, another a cover of the Dutch rock outfit Shocking Blue, somehow opened the facets of the band I missed on the debut and made a believer out of me.

The opening title track does not pretend to be this mysterious occult anymore, but instead has a mischievous character with its noodling keys, superactive bass and metallic clanging guitar notes. Not pretending to worship at any forgotten goddess shrine, Astral Sabbat nevertheless manages to be no less spell-binding, and at the same time very stoner rock. The almost quarter hour More Than Living is a human conversation (with the protagonist’s mother if I hear the lyrics correctly), starting off with an ambient acoustic strum plus piano, another moment which did remind of Lake of Tears Forever Autumn, just like the band’s debut. The track gathers strength and goes through the culmination at approximately 10 min only to dissolve back into acoustics.

Even though Long and Lonesome Road by Shocking Blue is less famous than Venus I did hear it played on the radio a few times, and it is certain that Jess and the Ancient Ones make this song justice. Their use of keyboards is outstanding, leaving the catchy factor where it belongs. It is also after listening to Jess on this cover I suddenly realized that I dig her voice much more than on the aforementioned debut. Gone are some coyness and impersonation of dark sorceress, and female sensuality is on front display. The subtle change, however, did not decrease coolness. Instead, the whole sound of Jess and the Ancient Ones is both clearer and more realistic, and they are the better band for it.

Killing Songs :
One cool EP
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Jess and the Ancient Ones that we have reviewed:
Jess and the Ancient Ones - Castaneda reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Jess and the Ancient Ones - Jess and the Ancient Ones reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
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