Up and coming Canadian doom metal band Funeral Circle more than hold their own on their half of a split with Finnish doom metal band Lord Vicar. In fact, the young band upstages the quasi-supergroup (ex-Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre, Centurions’ Ghost and Terra Firma) at their own game.
Lord Vicar’s 13-minute “The Fear of Being Crushed” occupies the entire A-side of the split. Following a mellow acoustic intro, a loping bass line starts up and the song slams into a hefty, simple, slow-paced riff. Before long the familiar vocals of Christian Lindersson kick in, but this is a stronger song than the ones found on their Feel No Pain album. It’s much less repetitive, and the disparate parts come together well – especially when an acoustic break pops up two-thirds of the way through. The riffs also feel less like leftovers from guitarist/songwriter Peter Inverted’s time in Reverend Bizarre than they have in the past.
Funeral Circle contributes an original and a cover for their side, which kicks off with “The Hexenhammer.” The song also marks the debut of their new singer, Revenant, whose vocals are a lot more downcast than his predecessor. (Though he builds up to a few nice screams throughout.) The different vocal approach fits perfectly with the song’s morose, doomed feel – it definitely has a darker and more foreboding vibe than most of their Sinister Sacrilege EP. A few tasteful lead breaks put things over the top, and it ends far sooner than expected given the drawn-out buildup that opens the song. Needless to say, it bodes well for their upcoming full-length album.
A cover of Witchfinder General’s “Burning a Sinner” closes out the split. Funeral Circle’s approach is reverent, thankfully not fucking with the classic song in any way. Revenant’s vocals are a bit lower pitched than Zeeb Parkes’ on the original, and the cover does lack Phil Cope’s chaotic lead guitar style, but those are the only real differences. It’s a faithful performance, and the song fits Funeral Circle’s style quite well.
Eyes Like Snow released a half-dozen different vinyl versions in different runs and colors and some copies apparently come with a midget or whatever the new vinyl packaging gimmick is, but the CD version appears to have a much larger press. Overall, the split is highly recommended – moreso for the Funeral Circle side than the Lord Vicar one, but both bands’ contributions are solid.