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After being involved in various other projects, doom metal legends Saint Vitus finally reformed in 2008, with half the original lineup coming back to write their first album in more than 15 years. Lillie F-65 is therefore perhaps one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year, with the band finally releasing some new material in the form of their 8th full length album after 17 years.
Yet it sounds as if the band were stuck in the early formative years of doom metal, and right from the beginning with Let Them Fall, the heavy Black Sabbath influence that the band has included since their formation is still clearly audible, though there is a marked improvement in terms of production quality on Lillie: F-65. For example moments such as on Let Them Fall are reminiscent of some of the earliest Sabbath material, and even the intro of Dependence reminds listeners of songs like Sign of the Southern Cross. The band progresses through the album in an almost painfully slow pace, and the band's penchant for creating some of the most ominous music is still present, with the atmosphere on the album being rather heavy and dark, such that even on the acoustic interlude Vertigo there is still that feeling of doom, with that heavy and constant presence of the bass of Mark Adams.
The guitar tones are suitably fuzzy, giving them the classic doom feel as well, and moments on tracks like Blessed Night even gives the listener a slight Electric Wizard feel, and of course, the weird and unique solos of Dave, while at times might not seem to make any sense sounding like random play of the whammy bar, also often help to provide the psychedelic feel in the music. Scott's gruff shouts help to bring out the emotions that are contained in the music, and while Lillie: F-65 is drummer Henry's first studio contribution to the band, he manages to fit the band like a glove and constantly proves his versatility throughout the album.
While the rather clean production quality would usually help in the enjoyment of the music more, on Lillie: F-65 though there are some gripes. While the vocals are clear and crisp, the guitars are intentionally mixed in a dirty tone, along with the heavy rumbling bass, resulting in quite a mismatch between the instrumental sections and the vocal sections, though as the album progresses this becomes less and less of a concern.
Unlike the predecessors, Lillie: F-65 lasts for a mere 33 minute, and while it would leave fans craving for more, the album has still definitely proven that despite the band not having played together in the last few years, they have not lost the touch to release good, classic doom metal music.