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The Obsessed live at Somerville, MA’s ONCE Ballroom

The Obsessed at ONCE Ballroom
The Obsessed at ONCE Ballroom

Tracing Scott “Wino” Weinrich’s path from the early days of his stoner-doom outfit The Obsessed to the band’s current iteration is a confounding task. Wino’s mercurial nature finds his projects merging with, splintering from and morphing into one another with some regularity. One would be forgiven for losing track of where one band ends and another starts. His most recent departure from the frontman role of doom legends Saint Vitus led to a reactivation of his mid-90s project Spirit Caravan, which briefly featured a former Obsessed drummer. Throw in another rhythm section turnover, and that lineup is now dubbed The Obsessed with Wino as the sole founding member. It’s all a bit arbitrary and more than a bit confusing, but the bottom line is that 2017 finds Wino bringing another batch of heavy gems to the stage, and that should always be cause for celebration.

For the May 17th Boston stop on The Obsessed’s spring trek, the band enlisted locals Gozu as support, along with tour-mates Lo-Pan and Karma To Burn. Gozu’s set was all too brief, but as they often do in opening slots, the quartet proved themselves among the tightest and best bands in the Boston heavy metal orbit. Both Lo-Pan and Karma To Burn’s tread largely in familiar stoner metal territory, with the latter turning in the stronger performance by keeping things instrumental and simply piling on the riffs in satisfying fashion.

It was well past 11 when Wino and his current compatriots – bassist Reid Raley and drummer Brian Constantino – took the stage, but the gathered faithful paid no mind to the lateness of the hour on a weeknight. In classic Wino fashion, he emerged with little fanfare and led the trio in owning the room while hardly breaking a sweat. Stoic and unhurried, he let the doom speak for itself. The sound hit all the right marks in a harmonious balance of thundering low-end and Wino’s versatile guitar heroics, and even as a relatively new configuration, the band had instrumental chemistry and heaviness to spare in a to-the-point barrage of songs new and old.

The Obsessed were touring behind Sacred, the first new LP to the band’s name since 1994, and it smoothly picks up where the previous lineup left off. The night’s setlist traversed the decades between old and new seamlessly, in a testament to the enduring power of Wino as both performer and songwriter. Deep into a career and a labyrinthine web of musical projects, it’s a thrill to see him step on stage and still deliver.



Karma To Burn

The Obsessed

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