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True, honest and beautiful - 100%

Doominance, January 19th, 2016

There is no doubt that Scott "Wino" Weinrich has done his part in the development and maintenance of the American underground hard rock and metal scene; doom metal in particular. The sporadic musician has featured on records many consider landmarks of underground metal music; the most notable one being Saint Vitus' 'Born Too Late'. Other projects of his such as as Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand and indeed his solo-work have also been praised. But before all of this, there was The Obsessed - Wino's first serious project.

The Obsessed recorded material for their self-titled debut album in 1985; a year prior to Wino's recruitment to Saint Vitus. The album wasn't released until Wino's first stint as frontman for Vitus was over in 1990, or thereabouts, as he wanted to resurrect The Obsessed and focus on his very own music. Wino has a very distinctive style; both vocally and guitar-wise. The Obsessed's music is vastly different from what he's been doing with Saint Vitus; mainly because Dave Chandler is and always has been the main songwriter of Vitus. But you can always tell, when Wino's had a part in the songwriting process. For instance, "Bitter Truth" of the 'Mournful Cries' album and "Angry Man" of 'V' have an obvious "Wino-feel". Lyrically and musically.

This is something that becomes more clear when listening to The Obsessed. The music isn't as creepy as Saint Vitus' frosty riffs and the lyrics aren't as dark, but more spiritual than the ones Vitus have. Wino's songwriting is simple enough, but excellent at the same time. There are very few that manage to make music as honest as Wino and you can feel it in his voice and riffs.

The Obsessed is associated with doom metal, but in reality, it's extremely difficult to place the band within a single genre or two. There are moments of Black Sabbath worship (surprise, surprise), but also moments of the slower, bluesier side of Motörhead. The music is too "lively and light" to be considered pure doom, but also too heavy to be considered rock only. Either way, the music is of high-quality and the album is consistently good with just enough variation to make it a very cohesive and comfortable listen.

The general atmosphere and mood of the album goes a bit back and forth. The more aggressive / angrier songs "The Way She Fly", "Ground Out", "Red Disaster" and "Inner Turmoil" are pretty straight-forward heavy rockers. "Freedom" is fast and kind of aggressive; and works as a continuation of the instrumental track "Fear Child", but isn't as dark and menacing as the other songs mentioned. The best parts of the album, though, are the slower, dreamier tracks: "Tombstone Highway", "Forever Midnight" and "River of Soul". These songs ooze passion, melancholy and beauty, and they truly expose Wino's versatility.

The Obsessed is all about Wino. It can pretty much be considered a solo-project of his as the main focus is his voice and his guitar. The amount of beautiful and versatile riffs this man churns out, on this album alone, is astonishing. He really knows how to create a special atmosphere, be it with his voice, guitar or lyrics, and I can only say that The Obsessed deserves more recognition and should be held in high-regard, as it's literally the face of Wino and his origins.