‘Born Too Late’ by Saint Vitus is my second album by the band. I wanted to write this review a few weeks ago already, but to be honest here, I just didn’t know how to adequately describe in words the impact this record had – and continues to have – on me. But I’ll give it a shot. Again, this is not a ‘professional’ album critique but rather a fan sharing his thoughts.
Let me start with Wino’s performance as a singer. God bless the guy, what a talent. He makes gives the lyrics authenticity and he does it effortlessly. What I mean by that: I believe every word he says (or sings), whether it’s his admission and realization that he was just ‘Born To Late’ or that he’s “Thirsty and Miserable”. He makes a statement and there’s no doubt that by his impeccable choice of words he actually exactly means what he says. Secondly, I can actually understand him clearly. I don’t have to pull the booklet to read up on the lyrics. I’m not trying to be funny here and I’ll probably get a lot of flak for my next statement, but the truth of the matter is: I just don’t get when ‘singers’ grunt and/or squeak their ‘lyrics’ while performing a song. That’s like a painter coloring a sheet of paper entirely in black and claiming he just painted a house. It doesn’t make sense – well, to me, anyway. Wino manages to put emphasis on the lyrics by just singing normally and that’s what I appreciate, it’s as simple as that.
Well, Mr. Dave Chandler on guitar – what can I say. Within a short period of time he quickly advanced to my personal group of favorite guitar players. Mind you, the first time I actually heard of Saint Vitus was only a few months ago. Dave can create this unique and haunting sound by being minimalistic and as basic as it gets. There’s a down-tuned guitar, bass all the way up while treble all the way down, a Wah-Wah pedal here and there plus a little bit of whammy-bar. The power and drive comes from the riffs and licks which he manages to intelligently combine, resulting in a crafty mix that kicks you right into the guts, over and over again. As a guitar player I find myself challenged to play along with Dave’s guitar. Technically, it might not be too difficult, but the truth is, you can play the exact same chord in many different ways. There are subtle differences that make you realize that you just don’t get it to sound the same until you actually figured out what’s going on. And every time I sit down to practice, I discover another nuance I haven’t heard before.
Mark Adams (bass) and Armando Acosta (drums) are the foundation on which ‘Born Too Late’ is built. They are the life-line to each song on this album. I know that Saint Vitus is often compared to the early Sabbath and I can understand why – however, I actually don’t think they really sound alike. But anyway, listening to Mark and Amanda I couldn’t help but being reminded of Geezer and Bill Ward. Well, Sabbath being my all-time favorites, this is obviously meant to be a compliment.
Here is the tracklist of ‘Born Too Late’:
1. Born Too Late
2. Clear Window Pane
3. Dying Inside
5. The Lost Feeling
6. The War Starter
7. Thirsty And Miserable
8. Look Behind You
9. The End Of The End
When I had previously shared with you my thoughts on Lillie: F-65 I already mentioned that I – unlike most other fans – don’t associate Saint Vitus’ music with anger, frustration, depression, etc. But very obviously, a lot of the songs on this album do exactly cover these very topics and it would be foolish to be oblivious to this fact. However, in my very own personal perception, there is a lot more to all this. As a matter of fact, I find a number of rather humorous and funny anecdotes/hints. Which, to me, also shows that despite the seriousness of life and its inherent challenges, there is something to be said for taking yourself not too serious all the time.
I don’t even know what Doom Metal is, but if ‘Born Too Late’ is categorized as Doom Metal, then I guess I am now a fan of that genre. Ultimately, to me it’s all just Rock ‘n’ Roll and that’s the music I love. And if you share my admiration and respect for good music (yes, I am being biased and subjective here in my assessment of ‘good music’) I encourage you to buy this record. It will grow on you as you keep listening to it. And I’ll promise you, you will listen to it over and over again. Your reasons for doing that might be different from mine, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. ‘Born To Late’ is an outstanding album, a timeless classic. Should I be alive in 40 years from today, I will still be listening to it with the same enthusiasm and grin on my face as Wino explains “I see colors everywhere, I have things living in my hair” (‘Clear Window Pane’).