Oct 18, 2012

Review: The Ancient Ones by Kellianna

I wanted to try something new with my blog by starting a new feature - album reviews! So earlier this year I contacted Kellianna and offered to review her new album The Ancient Ones, which was released in April 2012.  She graciously sent me a copy of the album, and I listened to it right away and had a few thoughts about it, but then - the review never got written.  Real life got in the way (I know, excuses, excuses), particularly all of the craziness with moving.

I think I've also been feeling extremely intimidated by the idea of writing my first album review, particularly a review for one of my favorite artists. Understandable, right? But I felt it important to honor my commitment, even if I am terribly late in doing so.

Kellianna - The Ancient Ones - cover art
Source: kellianna.com

One thing I was mulling over as I've listened to this album is the similarities and differences between her previous albums. As neopagans, we generally tend to believe in the power of personal evolution. I am also a believer that artists should evolve – and their work should evolve with them – otherwise the creative process stagnates. I’ve noticed that Kellianna’s music has tended to change over time, though not drastically.

This album shows she is not afraid to experiment with different styles, however, and I really respect that. “Daughters of the Earth” is the most divergent from her usual style. It is very mellow, and sounds much more like a laid-back jam band than folksy neo-Celtic/pagan singer-songwriter. It is very reminiscent of The Grateful Dead, actually. Then there are a couple of songs that are very cheery. “The Mists of Avalon” reminds me of the religious kids’ songs I learned as a child, and so is a bit too sing-songy for my liking. “Bless Our Planet” is also almost a bit too merry for me, but the beautiful harmonies and guitar work truly redeemed it. And it was lovely to see her take on the traditional "Witch's Reel" towards the end of the album.

One of the songs that struck me the deepest was the title track, “The Ancient Ones.” This song is echoey, as if the ancestors are calling to you from the Underworld, or perhaps from the depths of the past. This song calls you to be still and listen, rather than sing along (as is usually my wont). I found that to be very powerful.

It is always a delight to hear Kellianna singing in her lower vocal ranges as she does in this song and others, such as “To the Summerlands” and “Artemis.” I think her most beautiful, rich tones are in those ranges of her voice.

After listening to this album a few times, I realized that I had already learned the words to a few of the songs and was singing along. To me, that is a good sign that I am enjoying the music, and not just listening but allowing the music to really flow through me as music truly should.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of "The Ancient Ones" in exchange for a fair, honest review of the album. I received no monetary compensation.

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