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Lord Vicar is the truest metal band on the planet. The Finns have been slinging riffs since 2007, but were relatively silent since releasing a well-received full-length in 2008. They've been busier in 2011, dropping a couple of splits as well as Signs of Osiris. Just to quell any concerns up front, there is no sophomore slump here.
The band's approach is still pure bluesy doom, as instituted by Iommi. Every aspect of the band's sound is directly inspired by the classic Black Sabbath lineup. The production is heavier, and the vocals are like Ozzy's best moments, but with a fuller voice.
The record starts with an acoustic lick before plowing into the upbeat "Sign of Osiris Slain". In true Sabbath tradition, "Child Witness" breaks in the middle for a jam, with solos from each instrument and some nice turn-taking between guitar and drums. The tempo is dynamic, about 50/50 between faster and slower parts. The riffs are pure blues-doom, but unlike some other adherents of the Sabbath, they don't sound derivative. If you don't start moving in the verse of "Between the Blue Temple and the North Tower", you're dead. And Lord Vicar knows how to craft those riffs and vocal melodies into cohesive, memorable songs.
Two slight curveballs await you later on. With the sad acoustic of "Endless November", they could nearly pull out your heart. Finale "Sign of Osiris Risen" starts on a heavy riff, switches to acoustic guitar with ritual chanting, and then draws on parts from songs earlier in the album to tie everything up in a nice little bow.
The Verdict: If you like traditional doom, you will like this record, no question. If you like Black Sabbath, you will like this record. Hell, I can't conceive of a metalhead who wouldn't like it enough to think this is money well spent. You can't go wrong.
originally written for Doom-metal.com