(This review was first published on Hellbound.ca back in May.)
This one’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure. Saint Vitus’ first record in 17 years sees the band with a new drummer (RIP Mondo!), but with the voice of Wino back in the fold for what’s really little more than an EP, seven songs stretching 33 minutes and change—with a pair of instrumentals, to boot! But hey, you know what they say, quality over quantity, eh?
Make no mistake, this is a quality release, vintage Vitus at its finest. Lead-off track “Let Them Fall,” which spawned a slightly-silly music video, carries that same dark, brooding mood as heard on Born Too Late, what with the fuzzed-out Chandler riffs, Wino’s mournful cries, the solid yet understated rhythm section of Adams and Vazquez—and another mondo bizzaro guitar solo from the bearded one’s deadly arsenal. Yup, the gang’s all here…
“The Bleeding Ground” offers another slice of quality Chandler, this one at home amongst the likes of “Shooting Gallery” and “Dying Inside.” Those years away from the recording studio have had no ill effects on his massive tone, to be sure. The man is still very much the engine of this band—which is why it’s just a tad peculiar that “Vertigo,” the first of the two instrumental tunes, features Wino, not Chandler on guitar. (Not that I’m complaining…)
“Blessed Night” is likely the oldest song on this album, as it was a part of their live setlist as far back as last March’s Metalliance tour. A nice, slightly faster-paced teaser, but, as it turns out, far from the best song on the record. I reckon that’s a good thing.
“The Waste of Time” slows things back down; this one’s a real head-nodder with its slinky, slithering pace and pounding drums. The mournful, classical-guitar intro of “Dependence” sets the mood for the penultimate number, another addiction=suicide message that this band relays so well. Instrumental “Withdrawal” is pretty much just squealing guitar feedback, but by then, the damage is done.
As much as I’m digging this record, I’d hate to give it a perfect 10 for being so agonizingly, cockteasingly short. But, y’know, it’s pretty damn close. If you ever enjoyed the Wino era of Vitus, you will definitely dig this.