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Woke up sick again today - 95%

hippie_holocaust, October 1st, 2012

Time is no enemy of Saint Vitus, and their latest record Lillie F-65 is a living testimony of that. These guys were born too late and proud of it. I can only imagine how isolated they must have felt back in the 80s, when there were basically only two kinds of metal: thrash or that one where men dressed as women. Thrash kept getting faster and faster and saturated with clones while those transexual glam faggots just got gayer. So here were these smelly, drug-addled creeps, Saint Vitus, doomed to life and lost in time, but too stoned, drunk and pilled-out to ever give a fuck. And they have always thanked that "Big Man Upstairs" for every aspect of their utter weirdness.

Wino is back and of course he still rules. Dave Chandler and his wall of fuzz are completely unspoiled, because, as I said, time is irrelevant. The under-appreciated Mark Adams is as solid as he always has been, and Henry Vasquez, the new guy, is a badass. This dude beats the fuck out of his drums. You gotta love a hard-hitting drummer with a no-nonsense drum kit. One rack tom, two floor toms, big-ass kick and snare and a couple of big ol' loud crashes are all ya really need to play doom drums. I never understood Armando Acosta's elaborate set-up other than it looked cool. He was, of course, the proper drummer for Vitus, may he rest in peace, but Vasquez just plain hits harder.

As for Chandler's guitar tone, well, what can I say? There is only one Dave Chandler and while he has been imitated, it would simply be impossible for his sound to be replicated. He is a doom metal monument and his talent is bested by only one man, the Godfather himself, Tony Iommi.

So let's talk about the fuckin riffs, man. The main similarities I've always noticed (and loved) between Iommi and Chandler is that one-step sliding power chord that is recurrent in songs like "Into The Void" and "Dying Inside," and of course that ever-endearing half-step, wobbling hammer-on, a-la the Sab's title song. These loveable traits are still used to maximum effect from the start of Lillie F-65 with the stomping opener "Let Them Fall." Speaking of "Dying Inside," the main riff of "The Bleeding Ground" is eerily reminiscient of the old Vitus classic, and it fucking rules.

There is a great mix of heavy riffage and psychedlic atmosphere going on here, with tracks like "Vertigo" and "Withdrawal" keeping that recurring feeling of hungover confusion and disillusion prominent. "Blessed Night" struts it stuff with balls-out hard rock swagger, and according to the liner notes, is the tune that the band collaborated on s a whole. It's hard to know exactly how any group's writing process works, but as far as album credits and onstage personas go with these guys, Chandler seems to be the maestro. Lillie F-65 (what the fuck does that mean, anyway?) could have been released in the midst of the classic Wino-era Saint Vitus and it would have made just as much sense then as it does now. This is the timeless music of a timeless band.

"Woke up sick again today. A new gash on my face. Can't remember what I did. Now the pain sets in."

Those are the opening words of "Dependence," a monstrosity of doom found here to close the record proper, with that blunt honesty that this band is known and loved for. The doom of Saint Vitus is so real because the subject matter is stuff that long-haired, unshaven and shabby burnouts such as myself will always identify with. I love the fantastical nature of bands like Candlemass and Cathedral, but when I'm dealing with the remorse and depression of the great come-down, that's when I truly feel doomed. The middle of this piece drops into the sounds of hazy, hopeless feedback, the Lost Feeling, if you will, like the sonic embodiment of the throes of addiction. Then the mammoth and somber riff kicks back in, with the force of the fist that put that new gash in Dave's face while he was blacked-out in the middle of a week long bender.

"Woke up sick again today. It doesn't really matter." Doom on!