Heritage and pedigree count for a lot in doom metal, arguably the most atavistic of all metallic subgenres. Consequently, it’s easy to regard Lord Vicar as a good thing simply on the basis that they boast ex-members of Reverend Bizarre, Count Raven and Centurions Ghost in their ranks.
There is certainly little going on during Gates Of Flesh to suggest that this band have any desire to reinvent the wheel or even put a new slant on it from time to time, but what they do they pull off with morbid aplomb, veering from outright riff-worship to rambling, mantric jams with the ease of haggard veterans.
More to the point than material on previous albums, the straightforward thump of songs like The Green Man and Accidents suits the band’s unfussy delivery, but it’s only in those brief drifts into meandering improvisation – most notably on album bookends Birth Of Wine and Leper, Leper – that Lord Vicar do anything that might set them apart from countless other like-minded souls. Too classy to be mediocre, Gates Of Flesh is worthy of your attention… but only just.