Saint Vitus

Mournful Cries

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    7
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Saint Vitus' third album, Born Too Late, was an instant classic of the then-nascent doom metal movement, and without question it's the band's finest and most powerful work. It was so strong that it was hard to imagine how Saint Vitus could top it, and the truth is they didn't; their next album, 1988's Mournful Cries, is a shorter and less ambitious album that lacks songs quite as remarkable as "Clear Windowpane," "Born Too Late," or "Dying Inside." But Mournful Cries was Saint Vitus' second album with singer Scott "Wino" Weinrich, and like Born Too Late it confirmed he was the ideal vocalist for the band. The gritty resignation and throaty, fevered force of his voice meshes perfectly with Dave Chandler's howl-in-a-void guitar work, and his lyrics lend the songs an unblinking street-level attitude that gives the tunes a wildly potent force, even on the token fantasy piece "Dragon Time." Weinrich's second guitar also gives Chandler more space to stretch out with his thick, buzzing chords, as Armando Acosta's carefully punctuated drumming hits like a fist in the gut and Mark Adams' bass gives the songs a simple but rock-solid foundation. The material on Mournful Cries rates a B, but the performances deserve at least an A-, with stronger ensemble work than anything Saint Vitus had accomplished to date, and when they rise up in full strength on "The Creeps" and "Shooting Gallery," they're a mighty and malevolent force to be reckoned with. (The production also gives the material a more resonant and natural sound than they achieved on Born Too Late.) It's not a masterpiece, but Mournful Cries still ranks high in this band's mighty pantheon.

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