Saint Vitus - C.O.D.
Nuclear Blast
Doom Metal/Stoner
12 songs (62:22)
Release year: 1992
Saint Vitus, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Phil
Archive review

You will do a double take when you read the producer credit on Saint Vitus’ 1992 album C.O.D. That’s right, none other than Don Dokken produced the album. Yes, he of the horrid hairpiece. Sure, Dokken faced down Freddy Krueger with nothing more than a leather trench coat and a feminine voice back in 1986, but what has he done since then? Obviously, somehow, he ended up producing an album for the forefathers of American doom, Saint Vitus.

Another addition for this album was vocalist Christian Linderson. He was saddled with the unenviable task of replacing Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich after Wino exited the band. Overall, Linderson isn’t a terrible choice for the role…his voice sounds decent on the album. He was mainly doomed for failure because he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. With Wino, Saint Vitus had created a string of amazing and influential doom albums. Fans were rightly upset when Wino left, and its doubtful any replacement would have satisfied them. It’s especially strange when you consider that Linderson sounds a lot better than Saint Vitus’ original lead singer, Scott Reagers. But it was Reagers that would replace Linderson for the band’s final album, Die Healing.

As for C.O.D., it could actually be a decent Saint Vitus album without all these distractions. Dokken’s production definitely doesn’t help the case though. The mix is very bass heavy, and the guitars are buried in a thick layer of muck as well. Song wise, the album is fairly sturdy. After an intro, the title track, Children of Doom, starts the record with classic Saint Vitus stomp. The next song, Planet of Judgment, could be a stoner epic, but it’s held back by the shoddy production. Shadow of a Skeleton starts a bit more upbeat, but it kicks into a slow groove with a massive guitar solo at the end. (I Am) A Screaming Banshee is downright fast (for Saint Vitus anyway), but the album loses momentum with the overwrought, eight-minute Plague of Man. The next song, Get Away, may be one of the most ambitious tracks Saint Vitus ever attempted. An eerie guitar intro starts off the song, and the pounding drums and guitar build anticipation. After three minutes, the song comes down to a simple drum part with low vocals, then the song crescendos again. Sadly, the anticipation is never fully realized, and the listener is left a little unsatisfied. Next up is Bela, a six-minute song about a vampire. It’s hard to be against a doom song in honor of the original Dracula, Bela Lugosi. The next song, A Timeless Tale, is a confusing mess…thankfully it’s short. It appears to have been conceived as a theatrical, cinematic song. But the sound effects and dialogue make the song merely an annoyance. But the album closes on a high note. Hallows Victim (Exhumed) is a reworking of one the band’s earlier songs, and it clicks on every level. The original version was very fast, almost punk. The newer version thickens the song’s riff and acts as a showcase for the descriptive and enjoyable lyrics.

The main problem with this album really ends up being with the listener. It’s impossible for a Saint Vitus fan to hear these songs and not wonder how they would sound with Wino on vocals. The songs are fairly enjoyable, and Wino’s vocals probably could have pushed them to a whole new level. But as it is, this album ended up being a blemish on an otherwise storied career.

Killing Songs :
Children of Doom, Bela, Hallows Victim (Exhumed), Fear
Phil quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Saint Vitus that we have reviewed:
Saint Vitus - Lillie: F-65 reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Saint Vitus - Born Too Late reviewed by Khelek and quoted CLASSIC
Saint Vitus - Saint Vitus reviewed by Dee and quoted CLASSIC
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