CD Review

The Obsessed – “Lunar Womb”

By Dan Century

Lunar WombOf the dozens, maybe hundreds, of descendants of the Black Sabbath sound, Wino is the only guitarist who has surpassed the master Iommi. Some of you might have never heard of Wino before. Why is that, then all your heroes, like Henry Rollins, Ian McKay, Phil Anselmo, Pepper Keenan and Dave Grohl, consider Wino to be their hero?

What impresses me most about The Obsessed and their legendary leader Wino is the brutal honestly of the music. On Lunar Womb you get Wino’s distinctive growl, his searing-hot guitar, Greg Roger on drums and Scott Reeder on bass. No bullshit. No studio masturbation. The Obsessed offer only pure, raw, visceral, HEAVY, rock n’ roll. Lunar Womb was first released in 1992, and now it’s been remastered and given a proper release on Meteor City. When I look through my collection of heavy rock n’ roll, I realize that Lunar Womb was the one great album I did not have, and it is the one album no collection should be without.

Lunar Womb stands apart from the other heavy rock albums of its day. It lacks the effects drenched sound of Monster Magnet, or the over-production of a band like Alice in Chains. There’s no keyboards or drum machines, and Wino never tries to rap (thank Valhalla). Wino shares the same ethic of simplicity that many of the Sub Pop bands like Mudhoney embraced, but Wino’s sound is never sloppy, silly or so fuzzed out that the music is compromised. The Rollins Band is the only band I would compare to the Obsessed at that time. Without a doubt, the Obsessed is superior to the Rollins Band, but they both share an aggressive, intelligent and passionate singer and a raw sound that comes from the gut and the heart, and not a rack of studio effects. I’m certain Wino’s influence on Rollins shaped their sound. Sabbath’s influence on Wino is clear, but you can also trace a direct line from Wino back to the old blues guitarist of the early and mid 20th century, when music was made by a man (or woman) pouring out their heart and soul with just their voice and a guitar.

Lunar Womb kicks off with the heavy and soulful Brother Blue Steel. Wino’s guitar work is so powerful – he wields it like a weapon – I swear I can hear blood and guts hit the floor when he rips into the solo. Bardo is like getting punched in the head for a minute, then being mauled by a pit-bull for another 30 seconds and then finally being beaten again. The song is that fast, angry and animalistic. Back to Zero is the most radio friendly song on the album – that’s not to say it’s weak – rather the music sounds like a row of Sherman tanks slowly grinding up the side of a mountain, destroying all in their path. No Blame is a balls-to-the-wall rocker in the vein of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. I’m pretty sure this song is the last thing you hear before a Viking runs a broadsword through your chest and tosses you into a volcano. The lyrics “I’m gonna shine my shoes on your face in the name of Rock’n’Roll,” say it all.

Lunar Womb is a great album. It was missing from my collection, and it’s probably missing from yours as well. Now that Meteor City has re-released it, there are no more excuses. If you’re into heavy/riff/stoner rock ‘n’ roll for the music and the message, and not so much for they psychedelic and comic book fantasy aspects, then Lunar Womb is for you.

Contact Information:
Meteor City Records
Post: PO Box 40322, Albuquerque, NM, 87196-0322, USA
Phone: (606) 246-0884

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