Released: 2017, Relapse Records
For a band that has released only three full-length albums prior to this one, The Obsessed have had a huge impact on Stoner/Doom metal. After an absence of 20 years, The Obsessed is back with a new album in SACRED. It is somewhat surreal writing that last line, but welcome at the same time. Wino is the only original left, but the current lineup more than holds its own. SACRED finds The Obsessed offering fans a longer album, considering the debut was just over 32 minutes.
Wino’s voice continues to be one of the band’s most defining qualities, possessing a recognizable tone that complements and is complemented by the music. A re-recorded tune from the 1983 demo, “Sodden Jackal”, heralds the return. It’s a worthy chugger, slung low and with a pulse that you can feel in your guts. The next two songs are excellent as well, with “Punk Crusher” revealing why the band has often been called America’s Motorhead with its simple but effective approach. The title track offers some higher note riffing in the intro before settling into a classic descending riff.
“Cold Blood”, despite being an instrumental is one of my personal favorites on the album, showcasing most of The Obsessed’s best tendencies with drummer Brian Costantino pushing the tune along to glory ride. “Be The Night” is a strong deep album track, coming as things near a conclusion and chugging along like an inebriated version of “Paranoid.” Still, with twelve songs and two bonus tracks, there are bound to be a few clunkers. “Haywire” is one of them, overdosing on simplicity but unfortunately offering nothing particularly catchy while feeling not fully developed. “It’s Only Money” also fails to meet the standards of the rest of the album, and while neither of these tunes are bad, they clearly are the weak links on SACRED.
Wino’s solos sound great and like I said the man is in possession of the perfect voice for this music, a cross between Lemmy and Phil Lynott. The production has that timeless quality, Relapse Records putting the proper effort into this project. Otherwise, not much left to say. The band has delivered an album worthy of the reunion and the past catalog. The Obsessed is one of those critical darlings that lots of bands and music industry folks point to as “important” but never experienced the success of other bands that followed them. Here is to SACRED changing that and bringing these guys the business success they deserve to accompany the artistic acclaim.