Saint Vitus

One of the leading American doom metal acts of the '80s (along with Trouble and the Obsessed), Saint Vitus was cursed with public indifference throughout their decade-plus career, which both started and ended in frustrating obscurity. Originally formed as Tyrant in 1979 by vocalist Scott Reagers, guitarist Dave Chandler, bassist Mark Adams, and drummer Armando Acosta, Los Angeles' Saint Vitus was named after a medieval boy saint whose beheading and violent death-throes gave rise to the gruesome expression ("Saint Vitus Dance," also the name of a Black Sabbath song from the Vol. 4 album). Though they couldn't help but be slightly influenced by the SoCal hardcore scene thriving all around them (especially on their early releases), the quartet was a card-carrying disciple of Sabbath's dreary doom metal commandments, specializing in amazingly slow, ponderous power chords and a highly unfashionable biker image. Their eponymous 1984 debut was released by Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn's SST Records, and was followed in quick succession by the Walking Dead EP and Hallow's Victim album the very next year.