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Saint Vitus - "Lillie: F-65" (CD)

Saint Vitus - "Lillie: F-65" CD cover image

"Lillie: F-65" track listing:

1. Let Them Fall
2. The Bleeding Ground
3. Vertigo
4. Blessed Night
5. The Waste of Time
6. Dependence
7. Withdrawal

Reviewed by on May 17, 2012

"“Lillie: F-65” is everything one would expect to hear from Saint Vitus."

Seventeen years have elapsed since the last Saint Vitus album “Die Healing.” To say “Lillie: F-65” is a highly anticipated recording would be an understatement. Saint Vitus has grown in popularity since its disbanding, elevating the group to the legendary status it deserves. One can assume that part of this greater interest came from busy-bodied Wino, who played with a dozen bands, including The Hidden Hand, Shrinebuilder, The Obsessed, Premonition 13 and Spirit Caravan. Wino’s return (his first Saint Vitus long-play recording since 1990), combined with the band being at the pinnacle of popularity, results in no better time for the group to make its return to the studio.

Dave Chandler, the group’s founder and main songwriter, expressed in an interview with this site that he hates when a band puts out a comeback album that betrays the band’s established sound. Chandler reclaims the facets that people come to expect from his group—Black Sabbath-like rhythms, other worldly guitar noise and songs laced with themes of substance abuse. Gone is the high register of Scott Reagers - who is a great vocalist in his own right - in favor of the passionate mid-tones of Wino. Drummer Henry Vasquez is the lone unknown in the group. The Dallas, Texas native filled the position vacated by original drummer Armando Acosta. Vasquez earned the position after Acosta became too ill to play and eventually passed away.

Vasquez’s sticks set the album in motion on “Let Them Fall.” Chandler strikes a chord with the density of a revving motorcycle engine. Vasquez fills the gaps between each note during the chorus transition with the precision and timing of Bill Ward. Chandler’s chords ring much louder and the group’s sound is more voluptuous than the early, classic recordings. The louder recording brings out a textile feel to the crispy crackle of his tones on “The Bleeding Ground” and “Dependence” that wasn’t in your face on earlier recordings.

Doom is so slow that its guitarists often come across as mere riff makers or harmony repeaters. That’s not the case with Chandler. His solos aren’t a collection of small-string scales, though; he uses the guitar as an instrument to instill vibe. Often, these noises are derived from Chandler trying to recreate the noises in his head during drug-induced experiences. On “The Waste of Time,” he moves his whammy bar up and down, sculpting flickering noises like an antenna shifting between signals. He holds one note for such a long period of time that it would put Kerry King to shame. Not all of his effects are meant for solo purposes. He layers odd, whale-call like noises on top of soft acoustic tones on “Dependence” and creates harsher, vacuum-like noises on the second part of this concept, “Withdrawal.”

“Lillie: F-65” is everything one would expect to hear from Saint Vitus. All the musicians play superbly and the production is perfect, but it’s not a perfect album. Chandler stated he didn’t write another song because he didn’t want to interrupt the flow of his concept. However, the album could use a couple more songs. At seven songs and 34 minutes, the album is just too short. Two of songs are mere intros; good intros that fit, but still intros. These drawbacks aren’t heavy enough to warrant a poor grade, but keep it from being a higher score.

Highs: Noisy guitars, catchy grooves and Wino's voice

Lows: The album is too short.

Bottom line: "Lillie: F-65" is the Saint Vitus album fans expected.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)