Saint Vitus holds a very special place deep in my heart. No band better captured the sound of losing and frustration better than Vitus. At the risk of over-intellectualizing them too much, I would dare to say that Vitus is as close as postmodern times gets to real gritty down-and-out, gonna-kill-my-woman blues music. Saint Vitus weren't virtuosos by any stretch of the imagination, but they had passion and soul in spades. You almost get the impression that Saint Vitus wanted to be a better band, but bullshit like hangovers, shitty, unfulfilling jobs, and jail constantly got in the way of such lofty goals. Saint Vitus were real, maybe too real, flesh and bone hippie throwback burnouts shuffling through the sand-blown streets of Redondo Beach with apocalyptic doom-laden riffs rolling around in their sun-softened craniums. Essentially Saint Vitus was a band made up of those weird knife-wielding bikers without bikes that hang out shirtless at the beach waiting for someone to fucking crack wise, "I fucking dare you to say something, motherfucker!!!" Being from Redondo Beach the band caught the attention of another pot-headed local, Black Flag guitarist, Greg Ginn, who had the wisdom and forethought to release their amazing, self-titled debut on his SST label. Later Black Flag would start to resemble Vitus a bit in sound and style. Ginn's decision to align himself with Saint Vitus may have been the cause of some derision in punker circles, but in retrospect it seems quite fitting. Hallow's Victim was the band's second lp and, for reasons unknown to me, the only Vitus album not to see a cd pressing. It also marks the last Saint Vitus album with original frontman Scott Reagers, before he was replaced by Scott "Wino" Weinrich of The Obssessed. Now I love all things Vitus, and can't say that I prefer one singer to the next. They both have their merits and shortcomings, but there is a pure, lucidity to Scott Reager's voice that symbolizes the band's exuberant and still somewhat hopeful beginnings. Wino's vocals added a sort of world-weary wisdom and class to Vitus that had been previously absent from their trip. Now, if you have never heard Saint Vitus (I have trouble understanding how that could be) then imagine Black Sabbath deconstructed into its most rudimentary elements, stripped of any unecessary fat, and slathered in mud. The claustrophobic production values of SST in-house producer Spot really bring out the greys and browns of Vitus' spartan sound. If you HAVE knowledge of Vitus then I imagine they're one of your favorite bands. Nobody can be indifferent to Saint Vitus, and it's hard not to get something out of their albums. Even if you hate their songs or their playing you cannot deny their brutal, almost unnerving honesty. Saint Vitus were four troubled men opening up their veins, their minds, their dingy L.A. apartments, and their souls for all to see and judge. They were the emotionally crippled everyman struggling to find his way in a world he is just too high to understand. Saint Vitus is the audial essence of pain, regret, and human defeat. The blues, motherfucker, the blues.