Perhaps proving further that the current narration of rock music is considered by the elites to be of a sour, distraught, incorrect path, Jess and the Ancient Ones released their self-titled record in 2012. Many will cry out loud, “Nostalgia! Nostalgia!”, but maybe that’s the wrong reaction. Perhaps the more appropriate reaction is a pondering on whether or not the sounds dominant in late-’60s/early-’70s rock music were forced out of the public eye before their time was up. Nevertheless, those listeners out there who continue to have a craving for Grace Slick and the more eccentric corners of her mind are in for a healthy indulgence with one listen to this record.
This record opens with “Prayer for Death and Fire” and in case the cover art wasn’t enough of a giveaway, here is where you will find all of your occult-driven psychedelic fantasies put into overdrive. Why, of course there is a guitar riff that conjures up the early days of metal in a smooth, believable sensation! It’s of course the bigger societal questions surrounding this musical approach that make it all the more interesting, though. The above pondering is something we should all perhaps look at with some kind of legitimate context. Meanwhile we move to the following track, “Twilight Witchcraft”, for a midnight stroll through the forbidden alleys of black magic. To those crying foul and barking about how they’ve heard this all before, how about a resounding response of “So what?” and hey, who in their right mind hasn’t found themselves at the mercy of this subject matter? The conditions of this record don’t change throughout its duration and on “13th Breath of the Zodiac”, Jess proves that she has the pipes to conjure up this record’s main points. It’s the hypnotic nature of “The Devil (In G Minor)” that goes on to steal the spotlight on the second half of the record, though. Longtime listeners of this branch of rock n’ roll already know that a healthy dose of mysticism is a good thing, often times at the expense of a sort of control or certainty. The cynics probably won’t ever care to grasp this mentality, but you don’t need their approval now, do you?
If there are any reasons why this record should receive a cold shoulder, they certainly don’t present themselves upon impression. Perhaps oddly enough, as contentious as much of the occult-driven subject matter inevitably is to the safest ears, there isn’t a whole lot of obvious provocation within this record. It happily maintains a definite stance of indifference towards its critics. So at the end of the day, what is this? The future? Nostalgia? Is psychedelic rock/proto-metal fodder really on the way up again? Some would argue that it most certainly is and has been for quite some time. Others may have a differing opinion on the matter. One thing that is clear in the immediacy of this review is that this is a pretty good record. Far from being an absolute essential, it nevertheless is a highly enjoyable journey into the realm of that forbidden fruit that so gloriously reared its head between the years of about 1967-1972. The other ponderings will certainly sort themselves out in the future, but for right this moment, what more could you possibly want?