Thoroughly ignored outside the deepest heavy metal underground throughout their long career, Saint Vitus only later received some recognition for their crucial influence over the late-'90s/early-2000s doom/stoner metal scene. In fact, it could be argued that Vitus followers such as Sleep and Electric Wizard pretty much learned all their lessons from Heavier Than Thou -- a 14-track collection of Vitus' glory years with SST Records. Starting with the band's magnum opus, Born Too Late (which is wisely included almost in its entirety), and working its way back toward their eponymous Scott Reagers-fronted debut, the listener is given a reverse look at the band's evolution from lo-fi Sabbath enthusiasts ("White Magic/Black Magic," "War Is Our Destiny") to a pile-driving riff machine ("Look Behind You," "Bitter Truth") behind ex-Obsessed vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich. Not that the band ever forgot how to grind away at a snail's pace, as they dive headlong into miserably turgid tales of drug abuse like "Dying Inside" and "Shooting Gallery," then veer into comedic acid trips ("I see flowers everywhere...I have things living in my hair") on the classic "Clear Windowpane." And considering that none of the other important '80s doomsters -- Trouble, the Obsessed, and Pentagram -- possess career retrospectives, Heavier Than Thou becomes even more important as a document, and a perfect starting point.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia