If you ask me, occult themes and psychedelic rock go together extremely well. Psychedelic rock has seen a resurgence in the last decade with several talented acts popping up and delivering some incredible music. One of those is the Finnish band, Jess and the Ancient Ones. If you’ve never heard of them, you’re about to become well acquainted with them via their self-titled debut from 2012.
Jess and the Ancient Ones
Headed up vocalist Jess, it was formed in 2010 with veteran musicians from Finland’s death metal, thrash metal, and rock scenes. On guitar, you have Corpse of Deathchain and Winterwolf, bassist Fast Jake of Demilich, drummer Yussuf, and Abraham on keyboards. At the time of the self-titled’s release, you also had Thomas Fiend, better known as the guitarist Cult of Deathchain.
Their sound is cleaner psychedelic rock with some heavy metal influences. You won’t find this act on Metal-Archives although they could’ve been an entry based on the self-titled debut alone. The band sounds somewhat similar to other occult rock acts such as Lucifer and Jex Thoth only more mid-tempo as opposed to the doom metal focus of Jex Thoth.
Their subsequent releases Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (2015) and The Horse and Other Weird Tales (2017) move more in pure psychedelia than the debut but we’re not getting into those albums just yet.
The Self-Titled Debut
This album takes you through different speeds from the slower “The Devil (in G Minor)” and “Come Crimson Death” which close out the album to something more in the middle with—basically the rest of the album. It doesn’t slow thing down gradually, it starts off in the middle, stays in the middle, then slows things down.
I vibed out to the songs in general and really enjoyed them all, however, the pace threw me off a bit. See, I love my thrash, my speed metal, my power metal, and my old school heavy metal. Doom has grown on me. Pretty much, I love my music fast start to finish but I will hang with something in the middle. Going through the first five songs on Jess and the Ancient Ones, I was expecting all of them to just gallop along with Jess and crew taking me on a journey.
Then “The Devil (in G Minor)” drops and I’m wondering “Well what do we have here?” I wasn’t disappointed at all and “Come Crimson Death” capped off an awesome album. Jess’ vocals, the percussion, and the guitars—man, those guitars—mingle well with tales about magic, Hell, souls, and the unknown to create this…atmosphere.
That’s the best term I can use for this album, it creates this amazing, dark, beautiful atmosphere. It calls back to Coven and Black Widow while being very modern to the ear and in execution. I definitely recommend it for old heads who love the classics and want to hear something along those lines done right.
Stand Out Tracks: Prayer For Death and Fire, Twilight Witchcraft, Sulfur Giants (Red King)
RATING: 9/10 (Highly Recommended)
Feast your ears on my personal favorite from Jess and the Ancient Ones and check them out on Bandcamp.