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Saint Vitus: The Reluctant Pioneers Of Doom Metal

Jul 20th 2013 | 11:40am | Matt O'Neill
Saint Vitus helped pioneer doom metal. A variant of heavy metal indebted to Black Sabbath's initial turgid blueprint, doom metal stands in direct opposition to heavy metal's more celebrated obsessions with speed and technicality – opting for gruelingly slow tempos and crushingly low tunings. In the late-'70s, Saint Vitus, in particular, found their sound in stark contrast to rising trends like thrash metal and the NWOBHM.

Perhaps as a result, they were never as commercially or critically acclaimed as their contemporaries. Yet, the sound they helped pioneer has gone on to become a true touchstone for bands across the entire spectrum of heavy metal. The murky rumblings of doom can be heard in the work of modern iconoclasts like Mastodon and Neurosis. As such, their 2008 reformation was greeted quite differently to their 1995 disbandment.

“Yeah, we never thought about that whole doom metal thing. When we stopped in 1995, no one cared, so when we finally did get back together we were very pleasantly surprised. You know, after all this time,” Chandler laughs. “And then, all of a sudden, everyone starts talking about us as if we started something and citing us as an influence and we're just like – 'No, we never paid any attention to that, we just got out and played'.

“You know, 'What's going on?'” he laughs again. “So, it was a super-pleasant surprise for all of us. It's weird. It's definitely weird. We're taking it day by day. It gets easier the more you do it. But, yeah, it's definitely strange. It could all go away tomorrow. You could say that of any band. If we do another album and it sucks, we'll probably just disappear again. We don't intend to do that, though.

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