Before the doom metal of today and after Black Sabbath, a new wave of doom came by way of a few bands: Trouble from Chicago, NWOBHM bands Witchfinder General and Pagan Altar, and L.A. outfit Saint Vitus. After all of this time Saint Vitus have been through several lineups, most popularly helmed by Scott “Wino” Weinrich and their album Born Too Late.
There was, however, an era before and after Wino’s time with the band and that was with original and now current vocalist Scott Reagers. Reagers has been with the band for two prior stints; with the original self-titled album in 1984 and 1985’s Hallow’s Victim and then joined again for 1995’s Die Healing. He returns to record his first album in nearly a quarter century with legendary doom axeman Scott Chandler on their ninth proper LP and second self-titled effort.
Fans familiar with Wino’s approach will appreciate Reagers’ vocal style. He sounds like an escaped mental patient who is going increasingly more insane with each passing track. “Remains” is a strong opener which sets the depressive mood the band is famous for and the wonderful tone and distortion that make Chandler such a recognizable guitarist.
“12 Years In The Tomb” is Reagers’ strongest vocal performance on the album and he takes the reins on the track pretty early on. Bluesy passages swirl around Reagers’ mad crooning and create a great example of just how blues-oriented doom metal truly is. I would also be remiss if I weren’t to mention album closer “Useless.” The band spent a great deal of time on legendary punk label SST Records. This is a seminal doom metal band playing hardcore punk in 2019. Just let that sink in for you.
It has been seven years since Saint Vitus’ last record came out, but a lot can happen in that time. This is a different band and the new Saint Vitus are a perfect throwback to their days of yore. It really sounds like the combination of Reagers and Chandler have barely been away from each other since their chemistry is present from the word go. Doom metal fans and fans of heavy metal in 2019 owe it to themselves to experience this masterwork for themselves. Just some pioneers showcasing exactly what makes them legends in their own right.
(released May 17, 2019 on Season Of Mist)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Listen To Saint Vitus – “Bloodshed”