As the Spirit Caravan reunion gets underway with US touring starting this week (and a bit of drama bringing drummer Henry Vasquez in to replace Gary Isom), I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at the beginnings of Wino‘s previous reunion with The Obsessed. The three-piece was Wino‘s first band, formed as Warhorse in 1976, and seems to be a place to which the guitarist/vocalist has returned periodically throughout his career, having ended their original run around the time he joined Saint Vitus and then picked back up when he left after 1990′s V, only to put The Obsessed back to bed prior to starting Spirit Caravan. I don’t think it’s inappropriate to think of The Obsessed as a kind of thread running through Wino‘s progression, and even though the latest reunion hasn’t produced any studio material as of now, the fact that he got the band together again after performing acoustically for a few years, doing the Saint Vitus reunion and collaborating with Conny Ochs speaks to a kind of getting in touch with his sonic roots.
Because that’s what The Obsessed seems most to be: Roots doom. The songs are stripped-down and simple in their structure, Sabbathian in their stride with some flourish of Motörhead to coincide, and offer little by way of fluctuation or deviation from their downtrodden mood. Listening to an album like 1994′s The Church Within isn’t always easy. It’s a slog to get through the 13 tracks of that record sometimes, because as much as tracks like “Streetside,” “Blind Lightning,” “Neatz Brigade” and “Field of Hours” are career high points for the band, most of the back half is a misery show, plain and simple, and after a while that kind of downer gets hard to take. Watching The Obsessed live at Roadburn 2012 was a different experience, however, and it was plain to see how much more the character of the tracks came out on stage than on record. Joined by bassist Guy Pinhas (who’d soon be replaced by Reid Raley) and drummer Greg Rogers, Wino was definitely in his element throughout the set, and it’s easy to see from the clip of “Blind Lightning” below just how at home he is in these riffs.
Enjoy and have a happy Wino Wednesday: