Saint Vitus is a heavy metal band, formed 1979 in California, USA. Saint Vitus is known as one of the godfathers of traditional doom metal, starting out as early as the late 1970s. The band was formed under the name Tyrant, with Scott Reagers (vocals), Dave Chandler (guitar), Mark Adams (bass), and Armando Acosta (drums), but soon changed their name to Saint Vitus after the song St. Vitus' Dance by Black Sabbath.
Saint Vitus - Born Too Late (SST) 1986
1. Born Too Late
2. Clear Windowpane
3. Dying Inside
5. The Lost Feeling
6. The War Starter
Back in the mid-1980's I heard a song called "Born to Late" which totally blew me away. It wasn't so much that the musicianship was stellar or that there was something extraordinary about the song, but it was slow, ultra-heavy, catchy and I totally related to it. I actually got into heavy music very early on in life. I was in grade school in the 1970's and waas listening to bands like Thin Lizzy, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith and Black Sabbath, thanks to a teenage neighbor who turned me on to these band. Most of my schoolmates were listening to cheesy pop music. The Jackson 5, Bee Gees and the Bay City Rollers were popular at the time. I remember getting into an argument in grade school with someone telling them that Aerosmith's "Draw the Line" was far better than whatever music they were listening to at the time. Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of grade schoolers into the music I was in. So, in the 80's I was still a big fan of heavy metal and hard rock. By the time I was in high school people were wearing parachute pants and listening to Duran Duran. Me, I was still listening to Ted Nugent and Thin Lizzy, but added bands like Twisted Sister and Motorhead. Even back in the early 80's I wore my denim vest with the patches and buttons of my favorite bands. (I have pictures to prove it!) I had a few friends that were into the same music, but we were a small group and we didn't fit in with the trends of the time. Upon hearing this slow, doomy song, I totally related because of "the length of my hair" and "the out of date clothes I wear." So it goes without saying, Saint Vitus' "Born Too Late" album was a soundtrack to my teen years. Many fans consider "Born Too Late" to be the defining moment in the Saint Vitus catalog. It was the marriage of guitarist Dave Chandler and new vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich. Slow, dark and doomy heavy metal!
Saint Vitus - Thirsty and Miserable (SST) 1987
1. Thirsty and Miserable (3:51)
2. Look Behind You (3:18)
3. The End of the End (5:49)
" Thirsty and Miserable" is a 3-song EP and is essential, doom from Saint Vitus. The title track is a Black Flag cover, the original being a charged-up punk song, this being a slow, heavy dirge. These three songs were eventually added to the CD version of "Born to Late" as bonus tracks.
Saint Vitus - V (Southern Lord) 1990
1. Living Backwards (2:31)
2. I Bleed Black (5:14)
3. When Emotion Dies (2:10)
4. Patra (Petra) (7:33)
5. Ice Monkey (4:01)
6. Jack Frost (7:25)
7. Angry Man (4:29)
8. Mind-Food (3:12)
Bonus live footage
1. Saint Vitus
2. Prayer for the (M)Asses
3. Clear Windowpane
4. Zombie Hunger
5. White Stallions
"V" is the fifth album by the American doomsters Saint Vitus, thus the title of the album. Yes, it's a capitol V but it's also a Roman numeral five. It was the band's first album to not be released on SST Records. "V" marked the final album for vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich until the band united over a decade later. (2012's Lillie: F-65). As such, "V" closes out the trilogy of Wino-era albums from Saint Vitus which includes "Born Too Late", "Mournful Cries" and "V".
"V" is perhaps the slowest and sludgiest album from Saint Vitus yet. Of course there are the obvious Sabbath-inspired guitar riffs and the fuzzy, buzzy, nasty guitar tone that gives Vitus their sound. As usual, Chandler's guitar work is really the driving force of the music. Chandler has an other-worldly guitar style that is the exact opposite of most of what was going on in heavy metal in 1990. By the start of the 90's, thrash metal was king with bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax leading the major label call. Thrash features fast, tight riffing and furious tempos. Saint Vitus are nearly the exact opposite with sloppy, nasty guitar playing and slow, exaggerated tempos.
Though the sound mostly follows the band's previous efforts, the do step out with a psychedelic oddity called "When Emotion Bleeds", which features some female vocals. As well, "V" only contains two longer songs with the majority of the tunes being shorter. Otherwise, "Vi "s exactly what anyone would expect from Saint Vitus. ."V" is rock and roll in it's rawest form.
In 2004, Southern Lord Records re-released "V". The reissue CD contains bonus live footage from a concert recorded at the Palm Springs Community Center on May 16, 1986.
Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65 (Seasons of Mist) 2012
1. Let Them Fall (3:53)
2. The Bleeding Ground 6:07)
3. Vertigo [instrumental] (2:37)
4. Blessed Night (3:59)
5. The Waste Of Time (5:39)
6. Dependence (7:36)
7. Withdrawal [instrumental] (3:26)
|DISC TWO (DVD)
Live in Hamburg, Feb. 18, 2010
1. Saint Vitus
2. The Troll
3. White Stallions
4. Mystic Lady
5. Born Too Late
6. Dying Inside
Saint Vitus officially broke up in 1996 and only briefly reformed in 2003. In 2008 the band finally reunited with the classic "Born Too Late" line-up of vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich, guitarist Dave Chandler, bassist Mark Adams and drummer Armando Acosta. This line-up toured and played at various metal festivals. Unfortunately before recording new material, and after 31 years in the band, Armando Acosta left the band. His replacement was Henry Vasquez. This is the line-up that recorded "Lillie: F-65". It marks the first studio recording for Saint Vitus since 1995's "Die Healing". Apparently the album title is the name of a powerful depressant popular with hippies in the 1970s.
With decades between albums, I wasn't sure what to expect but the album picks up where 1986's "Born Too Late" left off, sounding especially dark, moody and primitive. Whereas some doom bands like Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus are more melodic, Saint Vitus are more along the lines of Pentagram, more simplistic, primal and savage. Opening track “Let Them Fall” sounds like classic Vitus with handler’s big, fuzzed out guitar and Wino’s worn and weary howl. The 70's influences are heard throughout. The six minute long "The Bleeding Ground", which has a simple riff, contains a distorted, feedback riddled guitar solo straight out of the early ’70s. "Vertigo" is a haunting instrumental that acts as an intro for "Blessed Night". Surely this song was a leftover track from Black Sabbath's "Master of Reality". Dark, heavy, ominous 70's-style heavy metal. "Dependence" is perhaps the darkest of all, starting off with about of minute of haunting instrumental before the fuzzy, buzzy guitars stream-roll in at about the 1:20 mark. The album ends with a bunch of crazy, feedback-induced, Jimi Hendrix-influenced white noise titled "Withdrawal".
I'm sure there are going to be reviewers out there who won't like this album because it's not progressive enough, too slow, doesn't deliver anything new, etc. Really, that's not the point. Saint Vitus delivers exactly what anyone who loves their music would want from them. Doooooooom!