Seems like female fronted bands are turning into a major part of the underground Doom/Rock scene and that’s good! Probably people are becoming more open minded about the woman’s position in hard music…hope it’s this and not some cash-driven trend of our times.
JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES is, guess what, a female fronted band from Finland. They are a 7-piece band with female vocals, male vocals, 2 guitars, bass, drums and organ/keyboard. I am not sure if there are many stages out there to fit all of the band members but what I know for sure is that the name JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES will be a hot topic among promoters and fans.
With a band name laying somewhere between JEX THOTH and UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS it is easy to classify this band into the over-productive genre of Occult Rock/Retro Rock/Proto Doom. Indeed fans of THE DEVIL’S BLOOD should find the band interesting (at least) as the two bands have a lot of things in common. The vocals sound close, the lyrical subjects are relevant, even the production has many common elements although in this case is less polished.
The vocals without being anything out of the ordinary, have nice and memorable tone and spare the cheesy extremes of THE DEVIL’S BLOOD. Yet, Jess’s full potential is unveiled only in the “The Devil (in G Minor)”. I would say that guitar melodies owe more to the great scene of the 80’s rather than the 70’s. While bands like COVEN, seem like definite influences of the band, I cannot overlook some strong IRON MAIDEN and generally NWOBHM influences. The smart use of organ is probably the closest reference to the great wave of the 70’s.
In the songwriting department I would say that this debut sounds interesting but I felt that there many ideas left unexplored. As in the case of THE DEVIL’S BLOOD latest effort I was probably most disappointed to find out that it misses the target of acting as a true Retro Rock record in the 70’s sense of the term. Although, I cannot say I really enjoyed the album, JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES leave a big promise for the future and I am really curious to see where the band will go in their next album.