ZT EXCLUSIVE: LORD VICAR Q&A

Doom metal titans Lord Vicar have just released their sophomore album “Signs of Osiris” via Germany’s genre-leading The Church Within Records. ZT spoke to guitarist Kimi Kärki.

 

“Signs of Osiris”, the new Lord Vicar full-length album, is officially out since Samhain, how have people reacted so far?
People who have heard the full album seem to be really pleased with it. They like the songs and the warm and heavy production. I feel the same, this is my favourite of all the albums I ever played on, a proper grower the way albums should be – striking but also challenging, with a lot of variety and details to be discovered by those who stick with it.

 

Musically, though still delivering the distinctive Vicar sound, it seems to differ quite much from your debut album “Fear No Pain”, taking the band on a pilgrimage to the land of 70’s psychedelia and whatnot. Bit bored with the old stuff?
No, not bored, except in the sense that we have played the first album songs so many times that we needed some new challenges badly. Thus I think we will mainly play the new material, including the stuff we did for several split vinyl releases along the way. The nods to 1970s were a really natural tribute, as we all love bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, old progressive rock bands and so on. I’d still say that this is mainly a honest heavy metal album, with lot of love for the combination of old aesthetics and punching production.

 

Can you tell us a bit about how the album was put together? Seeing as the band comprises of two Finns, a Swede and an Englishman, the process of rehearsing and recording might not be the easiest to get through? How do you manage to put all the pieces together?
Well we do not jam our songs, but it’s always the responsibility of the songwriter to come up with a demo of the basic arrangement, which we then work on as a unit until we are satisfied with it. Because we indeed live in three countries, we can’t fuck around when we meet, but it’s rather intense rehearsing. Every step we take needs to be planned well ahead, especially now that our drummer accepted a job in Kuwait.

 

Is there a concept behind the album, as such? What story does it tell?
The album’s general theme is violence in various forms, be it in wars, religions, between lovers, and especially combinations of these. This was never meant to be a continuous plot, but more like a platform for narratives to evolve naturally and respecting the songs’ musical quality. Proper concept albums tend to be dictated by the narrative, causing a drop in the musical quality. So, this one is more Dark Side of the Moon than The Wall, haha! The narratives mix ancient fertility myths with ceremonial magic, pain in relationships to the insanity of the world in the eyes of children. And then there are Nazis as well.

 

The band held the release show for the album on October 29 at the 6th edition of Hammer Of Doom festival in Wurzburg, Germany, and cut it a bit short at 40 minutes. Was it done on purpose? How did you celebrate the release afterwards?
Well, our bass player broke his thick E-string towards the end of ‘Born of a Jackal’. I first thought the stage monitors broke down as I could hear this loud roar that started to overwhelm the bandmix. Then I saw Jussi tearing the sting out of his bass rather violently and putting it around his neck. Thus, we did as dignified exit as we could and left the closing song ‘The Funeral Pyre’ unplayed. Next time!
We celebrated the release by listening to our brothers from Yet So Far play some insanely fiery and emotional progressive doom metal – brought be a lot of memories from 2003 when we toured with the package of Revelation, Mirror of Deception and Reverend Bizarre – and then we went backstage to drink Cuba Libres (all hail P36 Cuban Bar)!!!

 

With festivals such as Hammer Of Doom and great up n’ coming bands like Procession and Orchid, what do you think of the state the current doom metal scene is in? Any new names you’d care to recommend?
I think old school doom metal is doing rather fine, even if even better musical quality could be achieved. A lot of bands play a direct tribute to the all-time greats, and there is nothing wrong with that especially live, as these bands are hungry and many put on a great show! But I hope as the time progresses, so does the originality of the music and the lyrical narratives. That’s our aim at least, to try and top ourselves with each successive release. At the same time, I rather love the musical aesthetics and clichés we all share within this brotherhood of bands – it’s like playing blues, being part of a tradition that is greater than any of us who are taking part! And as a matter of fact this music never went too far away from blues…
Besides the mentioned amazing bands (hail!), check out Sigiriya! It’s Acrimony dudes basically, but with a more direct heavy metal approach to things… I love their debut album. The Gates of Slumber are of course a really old band already, but I nevertheless like to drop them a mention as I love those people. Of the recent comers at least Rituals of the Oak, Mountain Throne, Age of Taurus and Arkham Witch are some which are receiving spins at the moment.

 

Are there any tours and festival appearances planned in order to promote the album?
Yes, we will support Pentagram in Finland in December, and will be playing Roadburn festival in April. We have more extensive touring plans on top of those, but nothing is exact at this point.

 

You’d nicknamed yourself Peter (be it Inverted or Vicar) for many years but now claim your alter ago died on a pale Autumn afternoon. What exactly happened?
I just decided I don’t have to wear a spiritual theatre mask, as this music comes from my heart. It was always me anyway, haha!

 

Are there talks about Reverend Bizarre reunion?
No.

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