For the first time in 17 years, Saint Vitus is back in the saddle with the release of Lillie: F-65. Not many bands were carrying the torch for doom metal in the 80s, but you can count Saint Vitus as one of the few bands that were keeping it real alongside bands like Candlemass, Trouble, et al. Even when they began touring again in 2008, we did not know if we would ever see a new studio album from the band, but Saint Vitus proves that they are metal for life.
It is hard to dispute how much influence Saint Vitus has had since their inception. While it was not a genre of metal that many followed, the diehards always knew who the leaders of the genre were and Saint Vitus was always in the conversation. When they went back to touring, they picked a time when doom metal was starting to get back into the limelight due to the formation of a few doom bands of note.
With Lillie: F-65, I was not sure what to expect. Would we get the same old Saint Vitus, or would we see a new side of them? Would we still feel their hunger, or would their passion have simmered due to the layoff and age catching up to them. With the new release, those questions were answered. There was a lot of the same groove that they always had, and while there are not an abundance of new nuances to their sound, there are subtle differences that let you know that this is not your Saint Vitus of old.
Throughout the album, you get that slow chugging that you have come to expect as they mix doom with psychodelic aspects. The songs are filled out and composed well. I do have some beefs with Lillie: F-65, and they are not small issues. While the songs are not bad, they are pretty much run of the mill doom metal tracks. There is nothing that is really screaming out to me throughout the entire album. At times, it seems like the band is phoning it in and not really giving it their all. In addition, the guitar tone has seemed to have lost the gigantic crunch that it once had. You would think that is something that they would want to recreate, but for some reason, the guitars seem almost incomplete because of the lack of depth to their tone.