Saint Vitus is undoubtedly one of the doom metal pioneers. The band leaded by Dave Chandler is returning with Scott Reagers to release their self-titled album (second in their discography). The album is set for release on May 17th by Season of Mist.
The record starts with the slow distorted guitar sounds of ‘Remains’. Dave Chandler takes care of the melodic part in this composition while Henry Vasquez and Pat Bruders (ex-Down) maintain the track slow pace. All of this is completed with the clean vocals provided by Scott Reagers. The doom metal veterans created this track making sure it is not overcomplicated. Nice, heavy and monotonous riffs are maintained throughout the track but you can enjoy a small solo in the second section of this song.
Next in line is ‘A Prelude To’, which brings a small change of tempo. The single and flat notes that come out of the guitar are accompanied by very shy bass guitar sounds, which comprise the background for the vocals section. This song as the title indicates is a prelude to ‘Bloodshed’. ‘A Prelude…’ closes with a short bass guitar instrumental section, this time without no added effects. This quieter and calmer part of the album shortly ends and the record moves into the previously presented heavier aesthetics.
‘Bloodshed’ was one of the first songs presented by the band to promote this upcoming record. It is built around a nice and catchy riff that reminds the 70’s metal music. The song reflects Saint Vitus inspirations by older colleagues from bands like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. This track has a quite fast pace, a quite distinct style from most ‘Saint Vitus’ songs. It presents a style closer to heavy metal bands than classical doom bands.
The band returns to their roots on the following track, ’12 Years In A Tomb’, which is in fact the second single used to promote the record. Here we find more distorted sounds and less cleans vocals from Scott Reagers, which screams out the lyrics instead of sing them with clean voice. The song starts in a quite fast tempo and here we can listen to an amazing drums works executed by Henry Vasquez. The drums change the pace of the song by its middle section where the whole space is taken over by Dave Chandler and a big mixture of distorted guitar noises. The motive played on the beginning of the song returns for the last minutes to wrap up the whole track.
There are two particularly interesting tracks on this album – ‘City Park’ and ‘Useless’ – which represent a total separation from the normal style of Saint Vitus. The first one is a minimalistic composition based on different voice effects starting with frog calls sounds which after a short incantation of the verses is covered with wind sounds. This gives an overall impression of a hot summer evening being slowly covered by an incoming winter. The second one, ‘Useless’, is a literally 100% pure punk, a screamed out piece of music. This is a total shift from what was delivered before on the record and I guess a return to the bands origin and to the times when they toured alongside bands like Black Flag. Saint Vitus decided to close this record with a bang and so they did.
To sum up – the album is a nice piece of music. Saint Vitus stays faithful to his own style throughout their long career but here they decided to provide something more than just slow guitar riffs. The album is well produced but, in some moments, you can feel a small lack of energy which was then burned out in the last song.
About Saint Vitus:
Review by Kasper Pasinski
Managing Editor: Elsa Marques