REVIEW: THE OBSESSED – “Sacred”
You could argue that Doom Metal originates from the dark and pessimistic undertones of the song “Hand of Doom” by Black Sabbath but it is now its own recognized genre and there are a handful of doom metal bands that have been around for decades. You can go on YouTube and check out the Banger TV episode of Doom metal where the family tree is all but revealed. One of the hallmark Doom Metal groups that started in the early 80’s became well established in the 90’s and is making their comeback in 2017 after a long hiatus is the band The Obsessed.
The Obsessed are the classic example of what Doom Metal sounds like; it’s sludgy with dark tonal riffs and has the attitude of not giving a fuck about what commercial music should sound like at any point of time. Yet last year this ageing American power trio added a very strong focal point in the sexy shape of young second axe slinger Sara Seraphim and now have a brand new album titled ‘Sacred’ maybe because it really is a good moment to be releasing a Doom Metal album as we are in impending doom of not just economic uncertainty but also close to the total disruption of the status quo in the western world.
The album opens with its title song and it sure has a typical apocalyptic guitar riff that sounds like it came from the same hell that Black Sabbath took us to on their self-titled song nearly half a century ago complete with ominous Ozzy like cackles. “Razor Wire” has a super catchy riff and channels the vocals of Lemmy Kilmister but with slower riffing than Motorhead. “Sodden Jackal” is a banger that reflects Tony Iommi’s heavier riffing but The Obsessed does their best to make it sound their own and not just borrowed from the evil well of doom riffs. “Punk Crusher” has an old school proto metal sound and takes you back to the 70’s when rock was at its heyday. “Haywire” offers an ordinary riff that sounds like it’s been played many times before by other bands and doesn’t really add to the album’s quality. “Perseverance of Futility” is a classic rock “wannabe” in an album that already has way too many none conforming riffs so it only achieves a filler track status. “Its Only Money” goes back to the catchy riffing but isn’t quite as memorable as some of the early tracks from the album. “Cold Blood” is to ‘Sacred’ what “Rat Salad” was to Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ album as it’s probably mandatory that Doom Metal bands have at least one instrumental song in their own albums; “Stranger Things” has a far more contemporary sound than the rest of the songs, even though it has the sludgy doom riff the vocals make it sound like an early 00’s rock anthem from Nickelback. “My Daughter My Sons” is again just a filler and could have been left out entirely. “Be the Night” is unfortunately just repeating the same formula that The Obsessed keeps trying to feed us with the same dirty riffs but lacking any interesting song writing. ‘Sacred’ ends with a dark distorted guitar interlude and there are two bonus tracks that are channeling more Iommi or Blackmore riffs but we’ve already been treated to enough of these on the actual album so why bother?
In conclusion The Obsessed comeback album ‘Sacred’ has promising doom guitar passages and solid compositions but fails to hit the target. It lacks the eclecticism in the songs that it aspires to, like Sabbath’s classic ‘Paranoid’ or Deep Purple’s ‘Machine Head’. The Obsessed are happy to sit in their corner of doom metal but it is only interesting for a bit as the genre has evolved and there are younger bands pushing the envelope of this particular subgenre such as The Sword in a much more substantial way. The Obsessed will unfortunately not be starting any new discussions in 2017 on how metal can become a force again but if you’re looking for some music to just to have some nostalgic fun give ‘Sacred’ a spin. However if you plan to catch them live just because you’re curious about Miss Seraphim, it was confirmed just the other day that she has officially left the band. They’re doomed!