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Digital Subscriptions > Terrorizer Magazine > Terrorizer 281 - The Obsessed > SELECTED AND DISSECTED

SELECTED AND DISSECTED

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

LIKE A FINE WINE…

THE OBSESSED

‘Sacred’

RELAPSE

These days, pretty much no musical reunion comes as a true shock: a dangled cheque seems to cure the baddest of blood between former friends, and once The Doors toured without Jim Morrison, all bets were arguably off. The fourth studio album by The Obsessed, while arriving 23 years after the third, doesn’t fall into this category anyway, strictly speaking: Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, the Maryland doom unit’s frontman and founding father, has assembled a brand new band for ‘Sacred’. Longterm fans may pine for classic Obsessed sidemen like Scott Reeder and Greg Rogers, but time spent with this fine album and its rich, sonorous metal tones should quell those concerns.

Followers of Wino’s fortunes will also know that this period in his 40-year music-making career has had its bumps: notably deportation from Norway while touring with Saint Vitus, and subsequent rehab for a speed dependency. His ability to throw himself back into music deserves credit in itself; moreover, the twelve songs on here (or fourteen if you spring for the fancy double vinyl version) include some genuine highlights in the band’s canon.

‘Razor Wire’, the first song to be released from the album, is a belter: dead-on biker punk with mirthful ‘55-year-old man plays greasy teen nogoodnik’ lyrics (“I drove my sidecar through your daddy’s chainlink fence / I’d rather get high then pay the rent”). The title track begins as a foreboding rumble, not dissimilar to old Obsessed number ‘Spirit Caravan’, and kicks in proper with an absolutely top-drawer, almost gothic Wino riff; it’s a real tonic hearing the frontman laughing his head off about nothing in particular during a bridge, too. ‘Punk Crusher’ – ‘punk’ seems to be meant here in the general pejorative sense, as opposed to punk rockers, and fixates on phonies and ripoff merchants – is bolstered by a Cliff Burton-esque bass barrage, an unlikely but successful sidestep.

Further sterling moments are to be found in ‘Haywire’, a textbook Wino paean to personal autonomy whose lyrics use “Hollyweird” as a compliment (which is nice in an era of increasingly vocal right-wing bigots); ‘Stranger Things’, a relatively low-key brooding thing which ends with some lush, and again slightly surprising, echoey space-rock guitar; and ‘Be The Night’, barely topping two minutes and galloping to its finishing post with an almost NWOBHM feel. ‘Sacred’ harbours no actively duff moments, and the worst accusation you could level at the tracklisting is that two cover versions borders on the self-indulgent. ‘Sodden Jackal’ which opens the album, is in fact the first song The Obsessed ever released, in 1983; specific reasons for its being unearthed here are unclear, but it still sounds like a mighty clap of Sabbathian thunder. As for ‘It’s Only Money’, if a Thin Lizzy rendition appears superfluous on a comeback album, Wino channelling Lynott is something that needed to explicitly happen at least once while it was still possible. This record is not just a celebration of being alive, but a wholly relevant presence in 2017’s metal landscape.

BODY COUNT

‘Bloodlust’

CENTURY MEDIA

Even though Body Count have made remarkable improvements from their novelty act early years, the fact remains that if Tracy “Ice-T” Marrow’s celebrity wasn’t front-and-centre, this would likely be viewed as little more than an amateurish caricature. With the addition of a solid rhythmic core featuring former Agent Steel/Evil Dead guitarist Juan Garcia and drummer Ill Will and the engaging strength of previous album ‘Manslaughter’, it seemed like the elements of protest and anger, hardcore and metal, and embellishment and realism were coming together. This directional uptick in quality continues on album number six with multilayered harmonies and a soaring epic feel added atop the groove of ‘No Lives Matter’, ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Civil War’ (the latter featuring a wicked solo by some guy named Dave Mustaine) running alongside vitriolic, doom-punk rippers like ‘The Ski Mask Way’ and ‘Black Hoodie’. The ironic part, however, is that the band’s mouthpiece is its weakest link. Ice-T’s timbre and delivery is familiar to the way he raps as he spouts off tales of life in the ‘hood, getting out of the ‘hood, over-the-top slasher movie violence and racist America that provide equal amounts of entertainment as cause for thought, especially now that the former ‘land of the free and home of the brave’ has quickly devolved into Trumpghanistan, though Ice would be lying to even himself if he ever told anyone he knew how to sing, a deficiency most noticeable in the pensive ‘This Is Why We Ride’ and the cover of ‘Raining Blood’.

WHERE’S THE UNITY?

ICE-T ON THE CURRENT POLITICAL CLIMATE AND OVERCOMING RACISM

“The ‘60s was real music, and Body Count was born into that – I’m going to tell you how I feel about shit, that’s who I am and who I will always be. Now, in 2017, let’s see if people are really as pissed off as they act like they are. We’re dealing with a generation that has never known rage. They grew up on Obama, they’re soft today. I may have an acting job to fall back on, but my core still looks out there and says that people are a bunch of pussies. What the fuck!? I never had a hard time putting myself on the line, now I want people to stand up and open their eyes. People are dumb, they don’t know. The cops shoot kids and they say it’s white people – it ain’t white people, it’s the cops! Racism is real, but that’s not all that’s happening here. I’m singing to my white audience and letting them know that I see them as an ally, and I’m singing to my black audience and telling them to judge a devil by their deeds.”

ALUK TODOLO

‘Archives Vol. 1’

TEMPLE OF TORTUROUS

Krautrock trio Aluk Todolo unveil an entire new dimension of weird with ‘Archives Vol. 1’ – a collection of unreleased and rare material, documenting the first decade of the band’s existence. Never before heard rehearsal captures lift the veil on the band’s creative process, while bizarre recording experiments are presented completely unpolished. This is a rare opportunity for fans to really get to grips with how the band write songs and have evolved their sound over the years, especially with the inclusion of alternate versions of pre-existing songs. This isn’t an easy listen or one that can necessarily be enjoyed from beginning to end, however, it’s an interesting peek behind the curtain that’s pleasantly trippy.

[7] ANGELA DAVEY

AYREON

‘The Source’

MASCOT

Does Arjen Lucassen ever sleep? Surely not. How else could this musical mastermind find the time to compose another staggering rock opera, complete with its own remarkably detailed backstory set six billion years in the past? With every Ayreon release comes the reminder of Lucassens genius-like ability to create majestically complex sonic arrangements that tell an epic tale, and ‘The Source’ is no exception; this record simply soars from pop to power via grandiose symphonic arrangements. Featuring a cast of vocal contributors that reads like a who’s who of progressive metal, the distinctive wails of James LaBrie, Floor Jansen and Tobias Sammet in particular, provide the cherry a top what can best be described as an enthralling metal journey.

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About Terrorizer Magazine

I bloody love The Obsessed’s new album – it’s packed with grooves and riffs and isn’t one-dimensional in the slightest. I recall getting psyched when Relapse announced they had signed the band and since the news landed, plotting with the label about putting Wino and his band on the cover. It seems like aeons since they recorded the album last summer, but as Wino explains in our cover feature, a lot has been going on since that recording session. Go and read all about it now! And if you haven’t heard the album, please go check it out – it’s well worth the twenty-plus year wait since ‘The Church Within’. I always remember Wino and co. sticking out like a sore thumb when I saw them in Nottingham’s Rock City opening for Prong and Life Of Agony in support of that album – a sea of audience confusion greeted them, but the drive and honesty that oozed from the trio that night had a long-lasting impression on me, and I cannot wait to see them on our shores again soon, I hope. So, as always enjoy the issue in your hands. Every month Kez and the writing crew pour blood, sweat and tears into the issue to make it the best we can. It’s tough times out there, we have no crowd-funding hype machines behind us, just passion, belief and, frankly, stubbornness. And of course, enjoyment in the music. Take care and see you next month! Adios Darren Sadler
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