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Saint Vitus – Live Vol. 2 + Marbles In The Moshpit

Saint Vitus
Live Vol. 2 + Marbles In The Moshpit
by Myhr at 04 December 2016, 10:49 AM

The influential LA doom metal band SAINT VITUS have come out with a live album under Season Of Mist, featuring 11 tracks recorded live at the Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, on March 19th, 2013 but also have released a special ‘Deluxe edition’ featuring Marbles In The Moshpit, another 8 track live album originally released in 2012, featuring the original SAINT VITUS live in Canada back in 1984, the year of their first album release.

The Live album occupies a strange place in the sphere of recorded music, and it varies greatly on the purpose of it for the listener. Whether it’s to look back on glory days or significant concerts, or to check out a certain bands live presence in curiosity for a prospective concert, or maybe just as another release from a favorite band to expand your listening roster. SAINT VITUS, as a band that has been yet to directly cross my path, I would say for me Live vol. 2 probably fits somewhere in-between the first two.

It kicks off straight into “War Is Our Destiny” skipping any sort of intro track as may be done by other bands, which is understandable and not at all a bad decision, “War Is Our Destiny” being a fairly pacey track on its own and opening well to the rest of the concert/Album. The rest of the tracklist is a mainly some songs off their older albums, Saint Vitus, Hallows victim and Born to late, with a few from their latest album Lillie: F-65 thrown in as you’d expect. Aside from commenting on the overall flow of the selection and the quality of particular songs, I am not enough of a SAINT VITUS aficionado to know whether or not these are the fan favourites or most well know, but I can imagine they would be considering the situation of the band and their age.

The mix is a rather more ‘music focused’ one than on the gig experience, having a little crowd noise during interludes and between songs, but mainly focusing on the actual band with quite a clear and studio sounding mix. Though it does flow very nicely, being uncut, or non-noticeably so, so that all the guitar transitions and extra feedback are left in with the interactions on stage of the members and the crowd. Individually the drums and the bass are rather clean and punchy, with a very nice ‘old school’ vibe to the sound I rather like. The touch of reverb on the drums also helps to sell the whole live sound even with the rather clean production. The vocals as well, sound well performed and clear, occupying the right space in the mix and being well sung and legible from the begging to the end.  I feel where it really is let down is by the guitar. SAINT VITUS is a one guitar live band so it will always sound a little sparse when compared to today’s standard multitrack mentality, especially when on a live recording without the advantage of volume at an actual concert, but on Live Vol.2 the dark, sludgy guitar sort of seems to cover everything else up and sit too far in the front to the point of point intrusive. The overall volume seems just a bit too loud and too noisy, feeling a bit like a barrier in front of the other instruments, with a noticeable sonic gap in between. It is overall performed well and has a few live elements added in between songs and bits of improvisation to link songs together, with the effects some of it is just a little too resonant and intrusive, such as the beginning to “Look Behind You”.

It doesn’t make it unlistenable, and I recognise that the style of guitar tone is synonymous with the style, particularly in the live setting, but I don’t think it has translated so well to the actual recording. The band does perform rather well as a whole, but it does show a few signs of the bands age, the vocals shy a little away from the higher notes and have a distinctly raspy tone at points, though don’t seem too strained. As well as the whole pace of the concert does sound a little neutered, which is completely understandable, but noticeable. This is rather more stark when the album is followed by Marbles In The Moshpit, a recording of the band dating all the way back to 1984.  Being a much older recording the quality is obviously not a clear as the modern day, but it’s does have a great character to it and is by no means a bad sounding recording. Honestly I think this is the better of the CD’s, not because it showcases the band back in their hay day with all the energy and enthusiasm of a new and upcoming band, but because it is a piece of history. It shows how far the band has come and has real mystical and ‘legendary’ feeling for someone like me who wasn’t even around till the next decade. If one was privileged to grow up in the whole “Rise of heavy metal” as it were, tan this may have different, if in the end similar, connotations for you.

As a whole, it’s by no means a bad album but it is one I think you’d have to already be a SAINT VITUS fan to enjoy.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 5
Memorability: 6
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

Disk one: Live Vol. 2

1-War Is Our Destiny
2-Look Behind You
3-Let Them Fall
4-The Bleeding Ground
5-Patra (Petra)
6-The Troll
7-The Waste Of Time
8-White Stallions
9-Thirsty And Miserable
10-Dying Inside
11-Born Too Late

Disk Two: Marbles In The Moshpit

1-Saint Vitus
2-White Magic/Black Magic
3-Zombie Hunger
4-Hallow's Victim
5-War Is Our Destiny
6-Prayer For The (M)asses
7-White Stallions
Mark Adams – Bass
Henry Vasquez (CD 1), Armando Acosta (CD 2) – Drums
Dave Chandler – Guitar
Scott "Wino" Weinrich* (CD 1), Scott Reagers (CD 2) – Vocals
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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