Saint Vitus - Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus cover
Saint Vitus
Saint Vitus
Season of Mist
Saint Vitus formed in the late 70s as Tyrant and debuted with a strong one-two of an eponymous EP and “Hallow’s Victim”. They hardly had many personnel changes in all those years, with the main difference being if original vocalist Scott Reagers or Wino was behind the mic, with even Lord Vicar’s Christian Linderson (also ex-Count Raven, Terra Firma etc), managing to cut an album though in his brief tenure with the band. Dave Chandler has always been supplying the riffs and menacing mad solos and up to his death the late Armando Acosta was the drummer for the band, replaced by necessity by Henry Vasquez (who’s performed live with the Scull). Bass wise, replacing the ailing Mark Adams who was fighting Parkinson’s disease, is Pat Bruders (Down, ex-Crowbar) and those two guys seem to have a rhythmical understanding, bringing a thick, phat, bottom end to the proceedings that just makes the whole think stick like molasses.
The band hasn’t been terribly productive since they permanently reunited, with only two albums in over a decade. 2012’s “Lillie F-65” made people happy, by virtue of Wino returning on vocals, but when the album was finally released, people felt somewhat underwhelmed, as it under delivered and had to many fillers.
Easily their most impressive album since last time Reagers was behind the mic back  in 1995, the eponymous long play album this time, seems to fare better. Obviously not as impressive as the epic lamenting doom of Candlemass etc to my ears, Vitus were sludgier and more depressive surely, cultivating quite a different, drowning hopelessness with no resolution.
Opener “Remains” is typical Saint Vitus, heavy and despairing piece that sludges along with some crazy fuzzy guitar “shredding” tearing up its middle.
“A Prelude To...” is an acoustic, hypnotic three minute intro to “Bloodshed” a surprisingly spirited, up-tempo (for Vitus) number that feels like a throwback to the days of “Hallows Victim”.
“12 Years in the Tomb” is riffing wildly, writhing in a grave it’s buried in, with a towering riff hooking it all together, in the most agonizing manner.
“Wormhole” rumbles like a meaner version of Sabbath in their golden years while, “Hourglass” is likewise propelled by a quite remarkable riff. If someone got high on Pentagram and attempted a Danzig cover (or maybe the opposite? Definitely the opposite!) this might be what it would have sounded like.
“City Park” is an experimental soundscape with friggin crickets that doesn’t really do much than disrupt the albums already near flatline flow.
“Last Breath” is slow, heavy and dark, as it befits the band, but less impressive where it counts and that’s in having a really memorable riff. There is one that stands out that repeats often throughout, but not much else to latch upon it and make it all come together.
“Useless” is a crazy minute and a half hardcore blitz, that’s not exactly what I was expecting, but being tacked in the end, one could completely ignore its existence.
Catering mostly to their small but dedicated core audience, Saint Vitus offer an album true to their sound and roots, that has some flaws, but overall feels like the better one of their sole two efforts since before the change of the millennium. If you like your doom, slow, deep, hard and heavy, Vitus won’t disappoint.