The Obsessed – Sacred

It’s a pleasure to have The Obsessed back. The Church Within is one of my all-time favourite albums, and in a just universe everyone who professes to love music has a copy.

Wino is one of rock’s great singers, period, an amazing sincere, powerful voice; he’s up there with Chris Cornell, Robert Plant— all the truly unique and great singers. He’s also a great guitarist and songwriter, and moreover, he’s a survivor, a truly great character, an island of strength and character in a sea of dross.

Of course, all Wino’s bands have been superb: St Vitus, The Hidden Hand, Place of Skull, Spirit Caravan, and especially Shrinebuilder (not to mention his evocative solo work—this is a man who lives to create music), but there is something truly special about The Obsessed. This album just reeks of sincerity, craft, love of the music. We are lucky to have it.

The Obsessed are often described as doom metal, and there are certainly elements of doom in their music, but really, they are a timeless band. They could play with Metallica comfortably tomorrow (a grand idea!), but you could put them on the bill with Blue Oyster Cult and they would fit equally well. Soundgarden, Thin Lizzy, Mountain, Alice In Chains: The Obsessed belong with those great bands, because they’re all about songs, feeling, heaviness, emotion. What The Obsessed are not about are trends. A hundred years from now, if people exist to listen, The Obsessed will be still relevant.

Welcome back, Wino, you’re a man who’s come back from the abyss with a great album. Now here’s to many more.

(Relapse Records)

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (