Saint Vitus

Die Healing

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After enduring an ill-fated, one-album association with Swedish vocalist Christian Lindersson (on 1992's disappointing C.O.D.), and still reeling from the departure of venerable longtime frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich, the three remaining members of Saint Vitus reunited with their fellow band-founding brother, Scott Reagers, after ten years apart, for what would be their recorded epitaph: 1995's very aptly named Die Healing LP. And although this swan song, much like its predecessor, found Saint Vitus putting almost all of their eggs in the basket of sluggish doom tempos, to the dismay of all but the most committed fans of the genre (lone exceptions being driving closer "Just Another Notch" and the quasi-thrashing mid-section of "Let the End Begin," featuring a Mark Adams bass solo), the vast superiority of Reagers' vibrato-laden voice over Lindersson's sleepy monotone made for a much stronger album, overall. In fact, Reagers may be the biggest star of the show on Die Healing, significantly livening up some of guitarist Dave Chandler's creeping, three-chord exercises, including "Dark World," "Return of the Zombie," and "Trail of Pestilence," where Chandler himself ignites some jaw-dropping fireworks with his electrifying solo. Neither of them is capable of bringing much excitement to the rather obviously named "Sloth," nor the comically true-to-its-word "In the Asylum," while "One Mind" simply regurgitates the chord progression from Black Sabbath's "Hand of Doom" a little too blatantly for comfort. Nevertheless, for fans who had endured the C.O.D. debacle and lived to tell the tale, Die Healing turned out to be a pretty respectable -- if hardly career-saving -- final farewell for these long-serving (and long-suffering) heavy metal icons.

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