Saint Vitus – Lillie: F65

Saint Vitus
Lillie: F-65
Released April 27th 2012
Doom Metal
Released via Season of Mist

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California Doom legends “Saint Vitus” are back after a long hiatus, with their first album since 1995’s “Die Healing”, “Lillie: F-65” seeing the return of vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, who joins founding members Mark Chandler and Dave Adams to produce a record that includes a total of three of the band’s classic eighties line-up. Good news for any fan. It’s a shame that long time drummer Armando Acosta sadly died of a brain tumor in 2010, otherwise I’m sure we’d be seeing the whole band together again. Fortunately for the others, it’s as if they had never been away.

The album begins with “Let Them Fall” – a textbook Saint Vitus song, and “The Bleeding Ground” which rightfully speeds things up with a good old bluesy solo. As soon as the distortion drenched guitar tone kicks in, you’re transported back to the eighties. “Vertigo” however, is an unexpected strange little atmospheric instrumental, a half-time slowdown that comes out of leftfield. The band is not entirely resting on their laurels with this gloomy instrumental. The remaining three songs are all enjoyably solid slabs of old school Doom Metal. “Dependence” is perhaps the standout track and opens with an eerie acoustic intro which opens into a predictably depressing song – the slowest on the album, and the band round off the record with a disturbing psychedelic instrumental “Withdrawal” that I think runs for just a minute too long.

With the laid back, droning pace of Saint Vitus’ signature style and catchy riffs, the band makes it seem easy. The album is short (just over half an hour), but after waiting 17 years for this release, I think the band can be forgiven, especially as some of the band’s best work such as “Born Again”. “Hallows Victim” and their self-titled debut also finish up around the 34 minute mark. This is not a band in their prime producing an innovative work of art, but rather a more or less direct continuation of an otherwise winning formula. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

This album features two things that have been (with the exception of a few niche genres) sorely missing from the Metal world since the beginning of the 80s: The first being blues influence, and the second being a sense of fun. This album is set squarely in the Black Sabbath style of early, featuring bluesy-rock guitar based metal that is equal parts Doom, Traditional and Stoner Metal. Yes – this is Doom Metal, and the lyrics feature the usual doom and gloom that is expected (the albums strange title is named after a depressant), but in a genre that has been dominated by 30 minute Atmospheric Funeral Doom songs for the past decade, this is a breath of fresh air. Band’s such as Ghost, Witchcraft and Orchid have been spearheading a retro/stoner/doom movement in recent years, but old legends Saint Vitus show them how it’s done. As nice at it is to listen to new bands inspired by the late 70s and early 80s Doom and Heavy Metal sound, it’s even better to hear the return of one of the genres great pioneers. If you were expecting some kind of shift towards modern sounding Metal music – perhaps cleaner sounding guitar tones or the more guttural, Death Metal influenced vocals that have leaked into just about every genre of metal in the past decade, then look elsewhere. This is a band returning the vintage Heavy Metal music that they helped to create, and the world of Metal in 2012 is better for it.

3.7/5

Paul Gibbins

One Response to “Saint Vitus – Lillie: F65”

  1. […] Saint Vitus – Lillie: F65 (valkyrianmusic.com) Rate this:Share this:Share on Tumblr Pin ItMoreEmailDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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