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A Timeless Tale - 85%

rbright1674, February 11th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Season of Mist

"Lillie: F-65" is a perfect return from the grave for the mighty Saint Vitus. What year is it again? 1991? 1992? Doesn't matter - Vitus mainstays Dave Chandler and Mark Adams write as if they just finished up touring for "V" and rather than try to evolve into other directions, they stay within their range and craft an album that is at once unmistakably the "Wino" Weinrich fronted Saint Vitus. In a nutshell, yes, it's not anything shockingly different from what they did on "Born Too Late", "Mournful Cries" and "V", but if you're a Saint Vitus fan of any measure, you don't want it to be. Had Wino not departed for The Obsessed after "V", they no doubt would have crafted this exact sort of album as their follow up, rather than the red headed stepchild of the Vitus discography "C.O.D." that instead entailed.

All the trademarks are here - Wino's gravelly, commanding voice, Dave's guitar work somehow finding an even balance between the skill and heaviness of Tony Iommi and the punk attitude of Greg Ginn, the competent bass work of Mark drummer Henry Vasquez sounds as if he's possessed of the spirit of the late, great Armando Acosta and he understands exactly how to bring it all home. The songs themselves are rooted steeply in the staples of prior Vitus output lyrically - drugs, depression, isolation, war, all the fun and happy topics you've come to expect. No long epics, no frills - this is exactly what you want out of Saint Vitus.

The sound is impeccable, but not produced to the point where it's ruined - again, Vitus went right back to the same drawing board they initially used during the Wino years of 1987-1990 and this album is going to be a perfect fit nestled right in between those records. You could draw away one negative point being that, well, perhaps a few more songs on the album would take it a bit further, but the trade off with that is that you don't get an album half full of filler - what's done is done, nothing is out of place, and nothing would strike any fan of Saint Vitus as a "throwaway song" simply designed to eat up available album time (a crime many bands are quite guilty of in this day and age).

All in all, while it might be a somewhat predictable release, and while anybody who might be looking for problems could say that it's too reminiscent of ground already covered, it's Vitus performing what Vitus does best, and ultimately, that's the bonus for the fans who have waited and hoped against hope that an album like this might someday be in the cards. It's been a long time coming and Saint Vitus has delivered a traditional Saint Vitus album that doesn't sound forced, coerced or struggled through, and for bands who have been out of the studio and apart as long as they had, that's no small feat at all.

Staying in the comfort-zone isn't always bad! - 91%

Doominance, January 25th, 2014

With 'Lillie: F-65' Saint Vitus have gone back to basics. Once again, the ever-so-active Wino fronts the legendary doom act for two decades. 'Lillie: F-65' is Saint Vitus' first release since 1995's 'Dark Healing' which features original vocalist Scott Reagers. Even though it took Saint Vitus 17 years to release a new album, it is as if they never stopped... or as if we're still in the late 80s/early 90s Wino-era. Wino's voice is still the powerful whiskey-soaked soar we all know. Dave Chandler's distinctive guitar tone is still top-notch and daring, and it sounds so old school that it could've been old recordings from the 80s or 90s that were used on this record. Mark Adams is an underrated bassist and as always does a fine job complimenting Chandler's riffing, while "new guy" Henry Vasquez does a very good job behind the drum-kit; sounding very much alike to the late Armando Acosta (RIP) who was Saint Vitus' original drummer.

Saint Vitus are definitely within their comfort-zone on this record. The songs are very Vitus-like, with a song like "The Bleeding Ground" sounding a lot like the classic "Dying Inside" of their 'Born Too Late' album. I don't know what people generally feel about this, but as a person who was "born too late", I don't mind it at all. 'Lillie: F-65' gives us "young guns" a chance to hear something new from Saint Vitus, along with the "veterans", who have followed Chandler and co. since their early days. What we are served with are typical hazy riffs with its fair share of wild soloing that is very Dave Chandler-esque after all, with a slow but steady rhythm that occasionally gallops into faster sections. And of course, Wino's madman-wails. Just typical old school Saint Vitus.

The album is just over half an hour, like most Saint Vitus albums are, and isn't filled with strange surprises and experimenting, but there are some rather interesting things to point out, though. "The Bleeding Ground" sounds a lot like "Dying Inside", as I stated earlier, and it's a very good song; most likely my favourite of the album. Also, we have a beautiful instrumental piece called "Vertigo", composed by Wino, and features some acoustic-ish plucking with an electric guitar in the background that serves the purpose of a violin.

'Lillie: F-65', while not a surprising record, is a great doom metal album. I don't mind Saint Vitus staying well and truly within their comfort-zone with this release, as that's how I imagine most people like them the most. If you are a huge Wino fan and you're interested in more experimental work from the man, check out his many other bands such as Spirit Caravan and his solo-project. And all the others! But with 'Lillie: F-65', Saint Vitus have, once again, released a killer album that is worthy of a place in anybody's music collection.

Why Do I Scream At Them? - 95%

Twisted_Psychology, May 23rd, 2013

Originally published at

So after a couple years on the reunion tour circuit, doom legends Saint Vitus have finally released their first studio album since 1995’s Die Healing. Named after one of guitarist Dave Chandler’s favorite downers, Lillie: F-65 has been hyped for being the first Vitus release to feature singer/guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich since V came out in 1990. This album is also the first to feature drummer Harry Vasquez in place of the unfortunately departed Armando Acosta.

In a time when so many veteran bands are consciously channeling the sounds of their classic output, Saint Vitus has arguably come the closest as this album sounds like an honest extension of Born Too Late or Mournful Cries. The vocals may have a little less reverb of them than they did in the 80s but the production is fuzzy, distant, and consistently devoid of any modern polish.

Even though Wino’s vocals have been the focal point of hype, Chandler is the real star of the show thanks to his downtrodden riffs and feedback-driven solos. In addition, the rhythm section sounds great with the drums keeping their booming touch and Mark Adams’ bass giving solid backgrounds while the guitars go off on their distorted tangents. Wino himself also holds up pretty well and doesn’t sound too different from his early years; have the constant projects kept his voice in shape or has he always sounded like a withered old man?

If there’s one thing to nitpick about this release, it’s that it’s too damn short. Of course, this trope isn’t exactly new for Saint Vitus as the widely ignored C.O.D. was their only album with more than eight songs on it. You could get away with a thirty-four minute long full-length CD in the 70s or 80s, but that is pretty much considered to be an EP these days. Especially when you consider the fact that no song is longer than eight minutes and two of the tracks are instrumental.

But with that said, the material that is on here is quite awesome and very often reminiscent of Born Too Late. The lamenting lyrics and ringing chords on the opening “Let Them Fall” recall the timeless title track, “Blessed Night” is a drum heavy romp similar to “Clear Windowpane,” and “Dependency” plays out like the long lost sequel to “Dying Inside.” Those tracks all manage to be strong but “The Bleeding Ground” and “The Waste Of Time” may be the best thanks to their insanely memorable riffs.

As expected, the instrumentals aren’t quite as strong but still have some interesting ideas. While “Vertigo” has a trippy desert feel that is quick to remind me of Wino’s Premonition 13 project, “Withdrawal” builds off the brooding “Dependency” and has three minutes of pretty much nothing but guitar feedback. It would’ve been cool to see these turn into fully developed songs but they are pretty decent for what they are.

Saint Vitus’s eighth studio album may be a little too short for the modern age but there’s no denying that this still manages to be a pretty damn strong release. The solid riffs and old school aesthetics make it a safe purchase for doom metal diehards. Assuming Wino doesn’t eventually work himself to death, I think we can expect a little more greatness from these old dogs in the near future.

What You'd Expect - 79%

volvandese, October 11th, 2012

The doom legends Saint Vitus released their first studio album in 17 years with Lillie: F-65. They've got Scott "Wino" Weinrich taking back over on vocals from Scott Reagers. Both men have long histories with the band, but I've personally always preferred Wino, so I'm glad to see him back for this.

It's difficult, when a band hasn't released any new material in nearly two decades, to properly calibrate one's expectations. It seems obvious that the group's glory days are behind them, and that anything new they offer us now will be hard pressed to enter into the musical canon alongside their classic material. Beyond that, though, it's impossible to say. The new work could be strong, recalling the band's former glory, but it could also be an absolute train wreck. In this case, I'm inclined to say this is the former.

Saint Vitus have, in my opinion, been pretty successful in recapturing the sound and feel of their late-80s recordings. The guitar riffs are stylistically right out of their classic doom works, and the crazily distorted guitar solos still pop out of the tracks from time to time. The drumming is still reserved yet effective. Wino's vocals sound as good as ever, but that's not terribly surprising since he's never really stopped producing records over the years since his departure from the band. All in all, it's a very solid record that captures what any Saint Vitus fan would hope for in a come-back album.

Naturally this does mean a few other things as well. At this point, nothing the album does even approaches breaking new ground. The songs are new, but they all sound like something we've heard from the band before. Of course nobody hopes that an old favorite will reunite to produce something experimental and strange, and that severely limits where a new record by an old group can really go. So that leaves us with an album that satisfies expectations, but which doesn't bring any surprises or innovations to the table. Rock solid old-school doom straight from the masters. If you like old Saint Vitus you'll like this, if you don't then you won't.

(Originally published on

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!

Predictably Decent - 68%

TheStormIRide, August 5th, 2012

The first notes on “Lillie: F-65” show what the entire, almost thirty-five minute, journey of brooding doom metal is all about. Saint Vitus, freshly revamped with three members from the 1980's incarnation of the band, are not reinventing the wheel with their newest release, but rather play it safe in an unfortunately predictable way. Does this make it a bad album? Not at all. But it does keep the album from generating extremely high scores from this reviewer.

“Lillie:65” boasts an utterly amazing line-up with members of some of the most established acts in doom and sludge history: Sourvein, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Place of Skulls, and of course Saint Vitus. One thing you should note about all of those bands is that, while they released some really great albums in their time, they have never really pushed the boundaries of the genres they were writing in. In other words, most of these members are known for putting out classic albums that take a tried and true formula and then don't deviate at all.

The music on “Lillie: F-65” borrows more from early day Saint Vitus with the dirty and slow plodding, rather than mid-period doom rock. Minimalistic guitar chords and rolling drum patterns dominate this release, with fuzzy bass piercing through and interweaving throughout. The guitars maintain a deep and resonate tone, with fuzz and reverb resounding throughout. The pace is, as you might imagine, crawling. Rarely, the speed picks up during a verse section, but ultimately goes back into molasses. The guitar lines borrow a lot from early Black Sabbath, minus the finicky licks and fills, and even sound similar to some Sir Lord Baltimore tracks. That being said, there is no hint of anything modern with the guitars. It's almost as if Saint Vitus's guitar player hasn't listened to the radio since “Mob Rules” came out.

The highlight, as with about any album with him on it, is Wino. His vocals are in top form here, sounding just as whiskey drenched as ever. If you've never heard his vocals, then imagine any other doom band (a la Candlemass, Reverend Bizarre, etc.) and take out the clean, wailing style of singing and replace it with a stoner singer: same intonations and inflections, only with a more gruff and despair driven delivery. His delivery fits so well with the slow and fuzzy riffs and rolling drums.

The guitars and bass are so fuzzy in the mix that they sound straight out of the 1970's analog age, which I can only imagine is intentional. The guitars and bass are meant to be fuzzy with this style of dirty and raw doom metal, but I believe Saint Vitus went a little over the top on this one. The drums are Windex clean, giving a stark contrast to the fuzziness of the rest of the instrumentation. Wino's vocals are extremely high in the mix, and, aside from the gruffness of his voice, are high in the mix and crystal clear. It almost sounds as if two different bands were playing, with the singer and drummer being from a more modern incarnation, while the guitar and bass tracks utilized some form of riff necromancy.

While this is an enjoyable listen, I can' t help but feel that I've already listened to this a couple of hundred times before. Everything has an air of nostalgia, and I'm pretty sure that was what Saint Vitus was going for here. There are no traces of modern music here, and everything sounds straight out of the analog age. Painfully slow, fuzz and reverb laden guitar and bass lines with rolling drums and gruff vocals is the order of the day. Recommended to doom and sludge fans, because you know you'll love it. Everyone else, approach with caution: “Lillie: F-65” is a good listen, but it's too predictable and nostalgic to be amazing.

Originally written for The Metal Observer: