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Crushing traditional doom metal - 90%

KingOvFrost, January 19th, 2009

”Fear no Pain” is the debut full length outing of the Finnish/Swedish/British all-star traditional doom metal act Lord Vicar, featuring Peter Inverted of the now defunct REVEREND BIZARRE on guitars, Hammond and Mellotron, CENTURIONS GHOST drummer Gareth Millsted, ex-SAINT VITUS and COUNT RAVEN singer Christian Lindersson and finally Jussi "Iron Hammer" Myllykoski on bass. WITCHFINDER GENERAL, SAINT VITUS, TROUBLE, PENTAGRAM and to a certain degree CANDLEMASS are known as the first true doom metal bands, influenced by BLACK SABBATH. Lord Vicar is then again heavily influenced by said old school doom metal bands. The announcement of the REVEREND BIZARRE split-up in 2007, resulted in many broken doom metal hearts all over the globe. Unlike many other bands though, REVEREND BIZARRE quit while they still were at the top of their game, and this split-up opened a passage for two new interesting bands; namely Peter Inverted’s Lord Vicar and Albert Witchfinder’s THE PURITAN. Peter and Albert are two incredibly creative souls and 2009 will be a nice year for them both, seeing THE PURITIAN’s first album “Lithium Gates“ is just around the corner.

Fans of REVEREND BIZARRE will immediately recognize the thunderous heavy and groovy wah-ing guitars, creating a crushing wall of sound. While REVEREND BIZARRE’s compositions feature many upbeat sections though, Lord Vicar prefer to maintain a slow pace almost throughout the entire album. This makes Lord Vicar’s music sound closer to SAINT VITUS’ than WITCHFINDER GENERAL and mid-period CATHEDRAL. Few exceptions are to be found though, like the mid-tempo rocker “Pillars Under Water” and especially the 10 minute epic “A Man Called Horse” deserves a mention. This track opens with immensely groovy and up-tempo guitars that churn out quite catchy riffs, without introducing any commercial aspects. In between the fast gallop parts, the song occasionally slows down a lot and introduces pounding rhythms and droned Sabbath-inspired riffing, which will leave no doubt in anybody's mind that this is still doom metal. Around the 3 minute track “A Man Called Horse” surprises with very psychedelic guitar and keyboard solos which add a nice experimental and progressive edge to this very rocking tune.

The main difference between Lord Vicar and REVEREND BIZARRE lies in the atmospheres that the bands try to convey. REVEREND BIZARRE focused more on creating a dark, evil and gloomy atmosphere while Lord Vicar is more concerned about religious aspects of life. For instance, opening track “Down the Nails” is about the Disciple that got crucified after Jesus. He reportedly wanted to be nailed upside down, inverted, and according to the legends he was indeed crucified upside down in the Circus of Nero. Whether the Disciple felt he couldn’t die the same was as his master did or because he wanted a quicker death, is still a mystery, and Lord Vicar convey this ancient atmosphere exceptionally well. Ending song “The Funeral Pyre” is a 14 minute stand out track which could be classified as an ancient sounding ballad. This last song opens with controlled and crisp acoustic guitar work for the first minute and a half, before Chritus joins in with his placid and mournful singing. The electronic instruments kick in after 3 and a half minutes and continues this said and melancholic vibe laid out by the acoustic instruments. About 6 minutes into this colossal tune special guest star Don Angelo Tringali (COLD MOURNING, SLOUGH FEG) plays a fast electric solo and arpeggio, without going over the edge of showing off and flashiness.

”Fear no Pain” is a record that is well worth the time for fans of awesome, unrelenting doom. Plenty of powerful grooves are injected into Lord Vicar’s songs and lush Hammond and Mellotron work in addition to occasional acoustic guitar work are vintage features that bring the listener back to the 70’s when the old masters reigned. The production job is also top-notch and keeps it sounding rough and live while still making all of the tones and performances decipherable.

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