Saint Vitus – C.O.D. Reissue (Season of Mist)

Friday, 13th September 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

The long overdue reissuance of Saint Vitus’s storied back catalog begins with 1992’s polarizing C.O.D., or “Children of Doom.” The first album without Wino (who famously went on to front The Obsessed for a brief run in major label-land), C.O.D. ushered in the short-lived Christian Linderson era, a Swedish vocalist who was an odd fit for his non-conformance to traditional doom metal vocals. It’s actually a pretty cool snapshot in time, as bands like Saint Vitus were essentially left in the dust by the towering popularity of Metallica and Megadeth, while real doom essentially hustled itself over to the U.K. So if this is Saint Vitus treading commercial water, then so be it. They had no choice.

Characterized (as usual) by Dave Chandler’s barren and singular guitar tone, the simplistic plod of C.O.D. doesn’t veer too far from the band’s early masterworks. The title track, with its bullish shouting of the title is a bit barbaric, maybe on the juvenile side, yet it’s not afraid to tussle with mid-70’s Sabbath, and is actually an earworm. The tempo gets pushed out of snail territory via “A Screaming Banshee” and “Imagination Man,” while Chandler’s long and adventurous solos tell many tales. Yet it’s Linderson who gets picked on the most here, as he’s not Wino and doesn’t pretend to be. Thus, the boggy “Get Away” and stoic “Bela” while traditional, lack the sort of persuasion had ahem, Wino been on the mic.

Hats off to Season of Mist for taking the initiative to reissue the band’s two post-V albums (C.O.D. and ’95’s Die Healing), dovetailing nicely with the release of 2011’s comeback Lillie F-65. C.O.D. is worth examining based on context alone – doom was done here in the States (save for Solitude Aeturnus), and the band was in a precarious state…all the more reason to give it a go.

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