The Obsessed – Gilded Sorrow (Album Review)

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What is there to say about Scott “Wino” Weinrich that has not been written already? Starting his first band, Warhorse (in the ’70s), he eventually changed the name to The Obsessed by the end of the decade. Before long, Saint Vitus, the Los Angeles American Doom pioneers, came calling, and he helmed three full-length records in the late ’80s – 1986’s Born Too Late and 1988’s Mournful Cries for SST, before 1990’s V for Hellhound. The label shift for that last record also resulted in a self-titled collection of The Obsessed tunes that same year; eventually enticing Wino to depart Saint Vitus to reform his original band and release two more proper albums, before fronting Saint Vitus for two more stints. From here, two albums with new band Spirit Caravan followed (1999’s Jug Fulla Sun and 2001’s Elusive Truth)  as well as a pile of solo work, most recently 2020’s Forever Gone.

This history all laid out, The Obsessed have been re-active since 2016, when the lineup of Spirit Caravan decided to reclaim their old moniker. With this, the refreshed band almost immediately released Sacred in 2017. Fast forward to present day, in 2024 Wino is joined by fellow Spirit Caravan alum Brian Costantino on drums, plus Chris Angleberger on bass and newest member Jason Taylor on rhythm guitar for the album Gilded Sorrow

Released on February 16, 2024 through Ripple Music, Gilded Sorrow is summed up in a word… unfair. Elaborating on this statement, how one artist can so quickly morph from influences, genres, and contemporaries (young and old), mixing the likes of Sludge, Stoner, as well as Doom, with the sounds of Blue Cheer, Candlemass, Black Sabbath, area neighbors Pentagram, or even more recent fare, like All Them Witches or Castle, all while blending it in a way that is immediate, but unique and relatable, is otherworldly. Rather inspiring and impressive, “Daughter of an Echo” starts the tape using an unfamiliar astral plane. This is while the slow melodic doom of the title-track has everything but a funeral bell tolling overhead while little lost souls scatter for the exits, syrupy vocals serving as little salve to the open wounds left by the slow, gripping, ripping guitar work.

Wondering if the mood calls for a thick haze of stoner sludge? Well, “Yen Sleep” moves just quickly enough that it evokes neither a slow-nod nor a fast headbang. For crunchy gargantuan riffs, turn to “Stoned Back to the Bomb Age,” whose destruction is slow and deliberate and whose pace is belied at times by the excited vocals and poignant lyrics of Wino – “Young warrior robots / Got their boots on our soil / They got their hand in our water, drugs, and oil.

In the mood for something that glances in the direction of a rock ballad? No worries, “Realize a Dream” has a thick main riff that soothes the soul and stirs the mind, lulling you into relaxing before their face is torn off. Elsewhere, “Wellspring/Dark Sunshine” starts off making a case for belonging on a shoegaze record, its ethereal guitar lines trying in vain to make a positive spin on the gloomy vocals. The track eventually succumbs to the speed limit adhered to by the rest of the tracks, its monastic solo and crescendo falling in line with the rest of the album.

All of these matters discussed, the true wildcard on Gilded Sorrow is “Jailine”; which doubles as the closest thing to a true story on this record. “Jailine” weaves the tale of a whirlwind romance, starting on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (a nod to Wino’s roots), winding around various drug-fueled and drug-dealing escapades, before ending in whirling lights and whirring sirens. The track moves so quickly in its three minutes, it will be gone before you know it, much like its namesake, and the album as a whole. Furthermore, “It’s Not OK” also does its part to keep the straight-ahead Rock-n-Roll vibe alive amidst the dusty churn of Doom and Sludge.

Overall, this album is a who’s-who / what’s-what collection of  genres, as the individual songs bridge the many chasms and get the work done in a unique way that only Wino can write. However, a single complaint about Gilded Sorrow would have to be length; because it ends too soon for the starved ears of Doom, Sludge, and Stoner fans. Nonetheless, seven years have passed since the previous album from The Obsessed, and Gilded Sorrow was long worth the wait. The world has changed drastically in that time, and this album is an effect tracking tool, both lyrically and musically. That is why Cryptic Rock is pleased to give Gilded Sorrow 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

The Obsessed Gilded Sorrow album
The Obsessed – Gilded Sorrow / Ripple Music (2024)



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