Saint Vitus

C.O.D.

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Once one of, if not the, leading figures in the American doom metal movement of the '80s, Saint Vitus fairly stumbled into the next decade with their sixth full-length album, 1992's C.O.D. (Children of Doom), which found the original quartet of guitarist Dave Chandler, bassist Mark Adams, and drummer Armando Acosta fighting for their musical lives while breaking in new singer Christian Lindersson, formerly of Sweden's Count Raven. Of course this would have been no easy task at the best of times, since the departure of longtime frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich a few years prior (to re-form his original band, the Obsessed) had left a creative and charismatic void unlikely to be filled by anyone not named Osbourne or Kilmister. But coming as it did following a period of steadily building frustration for the group over their predicament as commercially inviable cult icons (respected but still literally starving to death), this challenge would prove simply too difficult for Saint Vitus to surmount, as evidenced on C.O.D. Listening to its largely dull and unimaginative doom dirges ("Children of Doom," "Fear," "Bela," etc.) is about as entertaining as a funeral procession stuck in traffic; indicating that the band may have reasoned that returning to the most basic, unadorned, and deliberate songwriting templates of their early years would help them find their way forward again. Instead, the dispiriting results suggest that without Wino's input, they simply had no other choice, since it was his replacement of Vitus' founding original vocalist, Scott Reagers, that ushered in the band's most prolific era in the first place. Indeed, even when the "new" Saint Vitus finally shrugs off their somnolent mantle for the energetic "(I Am) A Screaming Banshee" and portions of "Imagination Man" and "Get Away" their atypical sense of urgency further exposes the emotional limitations of new boy Lindersson's glassy-eyed, deadpan delivery. Not surprisingly, he would not be invited back, as the band reunited with the aforementioned Reagers for their next and final album, Die Healing, thus defining C.O.D. as an isolated chapter, widely accepted as the inspirational low of Saint Vitus' long career.

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