Saint Vitus – Die Healing Reissue (Season of Mist)

Wednesday, 18th September 2013
Rating: 8/10

Reissue two of two for doom giants Saint Vitus, Die Healing was originally released in 1995, and was intended to be the band’s last hurrah. Their subsequent reunion 13 years later nixed that, but Die Healing has its charm thanks to the return of original vocalist  Scott Reagers, who first appeared on the band’s self-titled 1984 debut, 1985’s Hallow’s Victim, and Walking Dead EP before stepping aside for Wino. So as a way of coming full circle (something that happens quite a bit in our scene), Die Healing seems like the appropriate cap to Saint Vitus Phase I.

More focused and Sabbath-y than C.O.D., Die Healing reveled in Iommi tones and guitar moans, with ringleader Dave Chandler channeling the lefty throughout the album’s eight songs. The simple, yet effective dungeon doom of “Dark World” and particularly “Let the End Begin” generally let one or two riffs carry the load, and are easy, but awfully effective. It’s like the gloom of Master of Reality, just shuttled in two decades later. Reagers is far more animated than C.O.D.-era vocalist Christian Linderson, often wandering off on his own little sorrowful diatribes while adding mounds of personality to the mix, even pulling out a cool chorus or two like on “In the Asylum.” A definite close second to Wino as to whom should be handling the mic for Saint Vitus.

There’s little question as to why Die Healing (and C.O.D.) have been forgotten bodies in the Saint Vitus discography – they’re not from the band’s seminal 80’s period, and they’re not recent. It’s not uncommon for such things to happen to classic and/or legendary bands; the 90’s almost always get the shaft. Die Healing, though, eschews any notion that Saint Vitus limped to the finish line.

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