Saint Vitus - C.O.D. - (7.5/10)
Published on October 15, 2013
Out of doom metal legends Saint Vitus’ dependably bleak discography, C.O.D. (or Children Of Doom) stands out as a bit of an oddity. Being their first album since 1986 not to feature Scott “Wino” Weinrich’s unique set of pipes, the band brought in Christian Linderson from Swedish stalwarts Count Raven to fill in on vocal duties. While by no means a lacking vocalist, Linderson’s voice was more in line with the epic doom-sound spearheaded by Candlemass, rather than the usual snarls and wails of Wino and original Vitus frontman Scott Reagers. C.O.D. also featured a cleaner production and more upbeat songwriting than its gloomy predecessors. It has in turn been buried by time and dust, only recently resurfacing as a re-issue from Season Of Mist.
Due to the aforementioned points, C.O.D. tends to be dismissed as a sub-par Saint Vitus album. While accusations of selling out appear ridiculous pertaining to a band so firmly rooted in the underground, this collection of songs are a departure from their usual fare. Opener “Children Of Doom” is a call to arms, not as dark but a spiritual companion to the classic “Born Too Late”. The tone is decidedly lighter than what one would expect from the masters of doom, but the sound is unmistakably Dave Chandler’s work. Main offenders are tracks like “(I Am) The Screaming Banshee” and “Imagination Man”, which feature catchy riffs and almost rock & roll-vibe. They are good songs, but lack the typical Saint Vitus-atmosphere.
Linderson is, admittedly, no Wino or Reagers, but his Ozzy-esque voice are a good fit with the slightly less doomier-than-thou vibrations of C.O.D.. The signature reverbed guitar of Dave Chandler is, of course, still present, albeit less distorted than usual. A notable exception is the eccentric “Get Away”, which is a drum-driven nightmarish trip and a highlight of the album. The 2013 re-issue includes two bonus tracks, “To Breed A Soldier” and “The Chameleon”, also featuring the talents of Linderson. These songs are, interestingly, considerably slower paced and heavier than most of the album, and well worth a listen.
As a part of Saint Vitus’ discography, C.O.D. pales in comparison to its companion pieces. Never the less, the band shows a willingness to experiment, and for the most part they succeed. Many of the songs are memorable in their own right, and the band were firmly back in their doom boots two years later. Despite being one of their weakest albums, this re-issue C.O.D. deserves a second chance from fans of the band.