The Obsessed – “Sacred”

The Obsessed – “Sacred” (Relapse Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Their first album in 20 years, The Obsessed remain one of the cult acts in the stoner / doom metal scene even to this day! Formed in 1976 by guitarist / vocalist Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, himself a cult figure given the sheer number of bands he’s played in (including Saint Vitus, Mentors and Place of Skulls), The Obsessed ground to a halt despite releasing an acclaimed album in “The Church Within” back in 1994. Still, interest in the band has never faded and so the reunion shows have continued over the years, if anything to build the impetus for a full time return last year following a signing to Relapse. “Sacred” is 14 tracks spanning the length and breadth of Wino’s career with a range of styles from classic doom to stoner to fuzz rock and hippy trippy groove outs. Opening with the aptly titled ‘Sodden Jackal’ the grim, down tuned guitar spells out the ominous riffs with Brian Constantino’s drums adding the heavy pounding while Wino wails – his voice amazingly youthful despite being in his mid 50s – before launching into a blistering solo and a slow Sabbathy drawn out end – classic man! I would’ve dearly liked an entire album of this but sadly its the heaviest track on the album with the likes of ‘Punk Crusher’ being more laid back stoner – not counting the furious Motorhead on speed skull smashing passage. That said, there’s plenty to get excited about like the rhyming swamp groove of ‘Razor Wire’ with its super catchy bayou like chorus and true to life lyrics like ‘…I’d rather get high than pay the rent..’ ha ha. Then there’s the chugging biker rocker ‘Be The Night’ with its cool, catchy groove which keeps the momentum as Wino adds wild breaks from his dirty guitar along with a John Kay style vocal. Heading back into the swamp (high on ludes) comes the 9 minute instrumental ‘On So Long’ with its droning guitar and sludge trippy pace – although it contains some of the best solo guitar pieces mid song that I’ve ever heard from a doom band in a few years! Closing in fine Hendrix style both vocally, Wino’s cheeky, teasing guitar licks giving way to some irresistible okey slide guitar and you just know that you can’t take the country outta this boy – but then why would you want to when he’s just so damn good!

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