Before I start my short review here on “Saint Vitus: Lillie: F-65”, I need to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I am a new fan. Had you asked me four weeks ago who Wino is, I would have had no clue at all. But I recently, by accident, came across Pentagram which led me to look into Victor Griffin’s work. I bought “Place of Skulls:With Vision” and on my favorite track (Long Lost Grave) I heard this voice that kind of haunted me. So, I found out that the guy’s name is Wino……and so forth.
In addition to that, I have absolutely no idea what actually Doom-Metal is. I mean I have a conceptual understanding, but really don’t know the genre. Therefore, I can’t make any comparisons to previous Saint Vitus releases or to other bands that would fall under the same category. Or, if you are a cynic, you might say: this dude doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And I would have to agree.
Anyway, I digress. I bought Saint Vitus: Lillie: F-65 via iTunes, which turned out to be a mistake. Because in retrospect, I have to say that I should have purchased the CD and the Vinyl. There is something to be said to hold a cover in your hands while you listen to good music. And let’s just not have a religious debate over whether it’s got to be one or the other – I know most die-hard fans swear on vinyl and buying CDs is frowned upon. Either way, I am going to buy the CD because this album needs to be in my collection, no doubt.
The whole record is, to me, a piece of art. This is nothing to do with finesse or sophistication for the lack of a better term. But Saint Vitus managed to create a certain type of atmosphere on Lillie: F-65 and you have to listen to it to understand what I mean. Reading up on other reviews and comments made by fans and critics, there seems to be this underlying common agreement, that there’s a lot of anger and frustration which manifests in both sound and lyrics. While I understand this perception, I personally can’t agree with it. I’m not saying that tracks like “The Bleeding Ground”, “Blessed Night” and “The Waste of Time” make me want to get up, hold hands with my family and joyfully dance around the kitchen table. But rather than dealing with anger, the album makes me reflect, and possibly a little melancholic at times (depends on the day). But as a fan and guitarist, I am ultimately an admirer of heavy riffs. It is as simple as that. Nothing energizes me more than an earthy chord progression. And well, you get plenty of that on Lillie F-65.
The other thing that makes this album a true winner is the fact that the band performs as remarkably cohesive unit. The whole thing just fits. We spoke about Dave Chandler and his riffs already. The day I heard “The Bleeding Ground” riff for the first time I couldn’t wait to get home and fire up my amp so I could play along. Mark Adam’s bass playing just accelerates the guitar sound and creates this massive ‘boom’ of sound. Henry Vasquez drums not only hold everything together, but also contribute a lot of fitting accents and at times playful nuances to the final product. Last but not least, Wino’s singing. You know what I like about the guy? I can actually understand him. I know it’s a Metal- or whatever kind of thing to grunt or lower your voice to sound more evil and sinister – I’ll never understand that. But Wino just sings and he sounds authentic, he doesn’t have to bend over backwards.
For completion purposes, here is the track-list:
1. Let Them Fall – 3:52
2. The Bleeding Ground – 6:07
3. Vertigo – 2:37
4. Blessed Night – 3:59
5. The Waste of Time – 5:39
6. Dependence – 7:36
7. Withdrawal – 3:26
Alright, so that’s it. I love the album, I’ve been listening to it constantly for the past few days. I read that Dave Chandler was asked if there will be another Saint Vitus album coming in the near future; he said that they don’t know yet and at this point they will see how things are going and how people will respond to Lillie: F-65. Well, for what it’s worth, I am responding to it very well and I’d like to respectfully request more…;-).
All kidding aside: if you haven’t done so already, go and buy Saint Vitus: Lillie: F-65 by clicking here. Again, I am not familiar with the previous records, I just bought ‘Born Too Late’ but haven’t had a real chance to listen to it. But from what I’ve read so far, the band received a lot of praise for their new record and that will hopefully encourage them to tackle new projects.
I’m grateful for having discovered Saint Vitus. The band inspired me a lot and I only know them for a few weeks. It’s honest, straight-forward and no-nonsense music. Just the way I like it. Whether you call it doom, metal or whatever, ultimately, to me it’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and that’s all I care about.