Saturday, 17 October 2009

Saint Vitus - The Walking Dead EP (1985, SST Records)

Version reviewed: SST Vinyl.

Unlike "Saint Vitus" which progressed to slower, dirgier songs as it went on and "Hallow's Victim" which maintained the same mood throughout, "The Walking Dead"'s songs gets more complex and longer as they go on.

"Darkness" is an uptempo metal song in the "Hallow's Victim" vein. It has a very nice bass sequence in it with a series of cymbol hits` that sound like a wine glass being tapped by a fork. It's pretty unconventional for Saint Vitus and a lot of fun.

"White Stallions" is the same song and recording from "Hallow's Victim". It's one of the more progressive songs on "Hallow's Victim" and it fits here, but it's of course not essential.

Now, the centrepiece of this 12" is the song, "The Walking Dead". It lasts for 11 minutes. Flanged to shit and trippy, the song gets off to a slow start. A minor key sequence of notes sets us in trippy motion. For once, Reagers vocals are mixed far back, adding an ethereal feel. Soon, the slow, stop-start groove reminiscent of "Burial at Sea" starts. Unlike that song, this one is PURE evil. It's a great example of the lo-fi production allowing us to read in more to the songs. The atmosphere is so perfect due to the lo-fi production - the zombie moans become genuinely displaced. The guitar solo about seven minutes in sounds like alien moans from another dimension, it's perfect thanks to the production.

The obvious predecessor to slow-motion, epic and 'evolutionary' stoner metal songs like Sleep's "Dopesmoker" and The Melvins entire career, "Walking Dead" hypnotises you through out it's 11 minutes and 32 seconds running time.

The overall EP (which runs for 22 minutes) is out of print on vinyl and is only available on bootleg CDs with "Hallow's Victim".

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