Saturday, February 03, 2007

SAINT VITUS - SAINT VITUS (1984)

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While I believe the Wino era of SAINT VITUS was fairly represented on WINO APPRECIATION DAY, and curious cats can feast on the Lindersson era here, I realized that G.O.M.E. was a little light in the Reagers department. Because of this inexcusable oversight, I offer you, the G.O.M.E. faithful, the eponymous debut of SAINT VITUS. This album is a longtime sentimental favorite of mine, having heard "White Magic/Black Magic" on SST's Program: Annihilator compilation in the mid-80s (which, if anyone wants to share, I would be much obliged). I immediately hunted down the cassette, and it's been a favorite since. Here's AMG's review:

Although they never achieved wide acclaim, Californian doom metallers SAINT VITUS still managed to carve out a niche in people's scrapbooks for one big reason: they sounded uncannily like BLACK SABBATH, a propensity aided by an increasingly farcical series of ever-changing lineups that left the latter band essentially faceless. Not surprisingly, SST Records signed them as BLACK FLAG's label began distancing itself from its hardcore punk roots. This album, then, should send old-schoolers' hearts aflutter. The trademarks that defined classic '70s-era SABBATH are proudly present and correct: jangly, piledriving guitars; stuttering basslines; and insistent, cymbal-soaked drumming. True to form, the album boasts just five tracks; the brisk opening tribute to the medieval-era saint is probably the most energetic among the lot. The band's themes are somewhat predictable, ranging from occult matters ("Black Magic, White Magic," "Zombie Hunger") to personal peril ("Burial at Sea"). However, the band convincingly shows that intensity doesn't necessarily stem from tempo on "Psychopath" and "Burial at Sea"; guitarist Dave Chandler lays down some menacing licks, while hollow-voiced singer Scott Reagers evokes just the right touch of despair and desperation. While Saint Vitus never broke beyond a cult circle of admirers -- except overseas -- the band shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. Genre exercises like this are naturally an acquired taste, but the band plays with fire and conviction. If BLACK SABBATH's singer-of-the-week lineups left you cold, these guys provided just the right placebo.

1. Saint Vitus
2. White Magic/Black Magic
3. Zombie Hunger
4. The Psychopath
5. Burial at Sea

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1 comment:

Joe said...

i can see that this is an old post and even if you don't read this, thanks for it!
and nice blog name...