Jess And The Ancient Ones – Astral Sabbat


Review by Jason Guest

JATAO - DebutSvart Records

First released in May 2012, Finland’s Jess and The Ancient Ones’ début was a slow burner, a slowly seductive work whose mighty wings closed around the listener enraptured by its mystical majesty with every listen. Combining classic rock, metal, blues and jazz with the grandeur of 70s psychedelia and the occult, the superbly crafted compositions were remarkable. While Fast Jake’s dirty bass grooved along with Yussuf’s tasty drumming, Abraham’s ornate and macabre/carnival-esque lines weaved their chilling horror between the triple-guitar attack of Thomas Corpse, Thomas Fiend and Von Stroh. With Jess’s dulcet, mesmeric, and haunting tones and superb melodies, the album’s occult splendour lingers long after the album has finished. And now, less than a year following its release, Jess and the Ancient Ones release Astral Sabbat, a 3-track collection that sees the band further developing their occult leanings and embellishing their ghost-like aura.

The title track brings surf guitar and rhythms to the astral plane, Abram’s organ tumescent with arcane splendour as he casts his spell across the track’s otherworldly aesthetic. ‘Long And Lonesome Road’ is a cover of a 1969 track by late 60s/early 70s Dutch rock band Shocking Blue (a band that most would know for writing ‘Love Buzz’, Nirvana’s first single). Sticking close to the original version, JATAO’s homage manages to imbue it with a supernatural flair and a flamboyant grandeur. And at almost fifteen minutes, ‘More Than Living’ plots a dynamic arc that is magnificent. A powerful track, it begins gently and slowly builds into a colossal track that is overwhelming in its opulence. In three exceptional and very different tracks, it’s evident that JATAO are so much greater than the sum of their parts and have much yet to reveal. As the next step in their evolution, Astral Sabbat firmly establishes the band as one that transcends the occult cluster and truly understands the dark arts. Magnificent.

JATAO - Astral Sabbat8 out of 10

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Track listing:

  1. Astral Sabbat
  2. Long and Lonesome Road
  3. More Than Living