A year after the excellent debut album, Saint Vitus released their second album: Hallow’s Victim. Not really recommended for beginning Saint Vitus or Doom Metal fans, as this album is not really representative for the work of Saint Vitus. And why, you may ask? Just read on further…
In 1985, Saint Vitus had the following members
Scott Reagers – Vocals
Dave Chandler – Guitar
Mark Adams – Bass
Armando Acosta – Drums
Unfortunately after this album, Scott Reagers left. He would return in 1994 for the last time, for the album Die Healing. After that album, Saint Vitus unfortunately broke up and nobody has heard of Saint Vitus (and Scott Reagers) since then. It’s too bad, because I’d love to hear more material with Scott Reagers. On this album, he also stands out. He has something is his voice that sends shivers down my spine, it’s very hard to describe. He just knows how to make doom metal sound scary and depressing.
The lyrics have many different themes, they are mostly about scary stories, like witches, vampires and hell, but the lyrics are also about war and there's even a song about a break-up on here.
I also love the guitar work of Dave Chandler. His riffs are heavy and he makes some interesting melodies here. The guitar solos contain mostly noises and effects, and they fit the songs perfectly.
Mark Adams and Armando Acosta mostly provide rhythm, but they are also great musicians. Especially the drumming is pretty good, Armando Acosta had a ‘earthy’, heavy playing style, which fits the album perfectly. Mark Adams' bass had a pretty raw sound, which is pretty suitable for Saint Vitus' sound.
Now, on to the review.
The album opens with two Saint Vitus classics, War Is Our Destiny
and White Stallions
. These are two fast, very melodic songs with pounding riffs and a catchy chorus. Not really very fast, but more fast like NWOBHM. These two songs sound a lot like Iron Maiden’s debut album. A great way to begin the album. War, is our destinyyyyyyyyy!
Now it’s time for a real slow, doomy song. Mystic Lady
is a slow, heavy and more epic song without a chorus. The riff reminds me of a blues song somehow, but I forgot the name of that song. The song is about a sweet young woman, who turned out to be a witch. She was burned, and she wants revenge by taking the life of those who killed her.
Halfway through, the songs becomes faster, but after a while it slows down again. An excellent song, especially the vocals are superb. Mystic ladyyyyy’s spirit lives!
. You can also hear the influence of Black Sabbath in this song, as this is a slow and heavy song.
Then comes the title track, Hallow’s Victim
. This is the fastest (and shortest) song Saint Vitus ever made. It sounds more like thrash than doom (that right, Saint Vitus playing thrash metal!), and it shows than Saint Vitus can also do fast songs, and not only slow ones. By that time, the metal scene was dominated by thrash-bands, and Saint Vitus came from California (where thrash metal was born), so it’s understandable that they made a thrash song. And it certainly adds up to the variety of the album. It really shows how talented Saint Vitus was. In this song, you can also hear how talented vocalist Scott Reagers is. He uses a fast combination of operatic screams and growls here, and he can sing high and low both perfectly. Just listen to the part Cross in your hand/Time to make your stand/Your bravery's fading somehow/Garlic 'round your neck/Paranoia's got you wrecked/You jump at every little sound
. The song is about a guy who tries to fight a vampire in the night, but he’s very afraid of the night. A great song.
is also a pretty fast song, but more heavy metal (like the first two songs) than thrash metal. It has great riffs and vocal work. Halfway through, there’s a guitar solo which fits the song perfectly. I don’t really know where the lyrics are about, but aside from that, a great song. Not much to say about this song, really.
Just Friends (Empty Love)
is slower than the previous track, but not really that slow to be considered doom metal. The lyrics are about a man who broke up with his woman, and he wants the woman to leave him alone. The song has a great riff and great guitar solos (especially the one at the end), but unfortunately this song isn’t that great in comparison to the other songs. But it’s certainly not a bad song. Woman!
Now the albums comes to an end. Prayer For The (M)asses
(funny title for a song, by the way) is a real doom metal song, very slow and heavy. The vocal work and the guitar solos really stand out in this song. The lyrics of this song are about warning a guy who worships satan, but that guy won’t listen to anyone. And as a result, he gets in hell. Prayer for the masses/Pray for their asses
. After approximately 4:50 in the song, there’s an outro, which sounds a LOT like the beginning of War Is Our Destiny
. Not really a great way to end the album, as it sounds like the album starts over new. But still it’s a great song.
All in all, this is a great album, but only recommended for diehard Saint Vitus and diehard doom metal fans. This is because the album contains a lot of fast songs in comparison to their other albums, and therefore is not representative for both Saint Vitus and doom metal (But hey, even Black Sabbath made fast songs, like Paranoid!). Hallow’s Victim is also an album that is VERY hard to get, as this is the only Saint Vitus album that has never been released on CD officially. Great album, but I like the debut album more.
1. War Is Our Destiny 5/5
2. White Stallions 4/5
3. Mystic Lady 5/5
4. Hallow’s Victim 4/5
5. The Sadist 4/5
6. Just Friends (Empty Love) 3/5
7. Prayer For The (M)asses 4/5