White Magic / Black Magic
Burial at Sea
Editors’ Notes At a time when the Southern California underground scene was overrun with hardcore punk bands, the Lomita-based quartet Saint Vitus submitted a musical statement that was diametrically opposed to prevailing trends. Though it represented everything punk rockers hated, the band’s shockingly slow take on Black Sabbath's blues-metal proved to be the beginning of a whole new genre: doom metal. “Zombie Hunger” and “The Psychopath” upended not just the tenets of punk rock but also the lightning tempos and theatricality of '80s heavy metal. Meanwhile, songs like “Burial at Sea” made even Sabbath look swishy by comparison. At its heart, Saint Vitus’ eponymous debut belongs to the tradition of the American garage band. There's no pretense to the playing, no added effects, no attempt to embody the image of rock gods. In what it refused to do, the young band was bold. Where other garage bands found inspiration in the teenage energy of the '60s, Saint Vitus dedicated its art to the near-comatose alienation of every small-town malcontented stoner.