Sunday, 29 April 2012

Review: Saint Vitus - Lille: F-65

 Since their 1978 conception, LA's Saint Vitus have cast a dark shadow of influence over the world of doom metal as we know it today. Alongside the likes of Witchfinder General, The Obsessed and Candlemass, the band reached a cult status with their message of depressant fueled woes and toils of how they were ruining their own lives to appeal with other listeners who were ruining their own lives. They're awesome!!! And now, they return with Lillie: F-16, an album named after the drug on which they were once hooked. It's their first album in seventeen years and in that time, doom metal has only gone on to become more of a cult phenomenon. This album is very much a hell-raising comeback that sees them take back their place on the skull crafted throne of doom.

 It's because everything is as it should be for this album that makes everything come together so spectacularly. It's got the perfect lineup with Scott "Wino" Wienrich delivering the vocals with his bleak throaty cackle which gives such extra flare and potency to Let Them Fall and The Waste of Time, plus the presence of the classic Saint Vitus sound is to be found all around the seven track collection across it's simple half hour long run.
 Despite it's surprising shortness for a doom metal album it is a very poignant short run. There's often a constant dynamic in tone across the album even though the trademark sense of gloom is always lurking. At points like the monolithic closer Withdrawal, the music takes on a more delicate and touching form which really emits the sense of hopelessness and imprisonment the band try to create, which by the time latest recruit Henry Vasquez crashes in with a gargantuan drum solo, you'll feel musically entrapped to the tearful somberness - there's no hope, no freedom and no more joy to be found ever.
 On the other hand there's also the bands performances on The Bleeding Ground and Blessed Nights, some of the most rock n' roll contributions to the doom metal scene ever. Aided by a selection of chilled stoner riffs and hyper swinging guitar solos, one could look at The Bleeding Ground and say that despair has never sounded so cool, while Blessed Nights uses it's monolith guitars and crunching bass as a means to summon the hounds of hell and all spirits of doom upon the world as the intense heaviness and drawing riffs pull up the roots of the earth. Yeah.
 And it's with this combination of song techniques that you find the resulting album is packed with doom metal perfection and doom metal is quite a perfect style of music. As Saint Vitus make a superb return, it's clear that they're sounding as grimy, gloomy and willing to make the sound for people to drown their sorrows in as ever. It is a happy time for everyone.

 Saint Vitus' Lille: F-65 is out now via Season of Mist. The band will tour the UK in June with Acid King and Sardonis.

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