The Obsessed, Karma to Burn, Apostle of Solitude, and Astral Mass – 5th Quarter Lounge, May 21, 2016
Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich is a fucking legend; he’s undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the development of American doom metal. Starting in the late 70s with the first incarnation of The Obsessed and moving on through Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, and Shrinebuilder, Wino’s distinctive voice and riffs have been just as influential on the doom scene as the work of a certain Messrs. Iommi and Osborne. It might be understating things a bit to say that my expectations were high going into the show. The band met them and then some—in fact, every band on the bill was outstanding, making for an all-around killer night of music.
I’ve probably said this in a show review before, but it bears repeating: one of the things I love about going to shows in this town is how strong the local openers always are. It is always worth showing up early to catch the first couple of bands, and this show was no exception. Of course, everybody already knows how great Apostle of Solitude are, and after they played ‘Sincerest Misery (1000 Days),’ the rest of the night could have sucked and I would have still felt like I’d gotten my money’s worth. I enjoy them on record, but AoS live is an entirely different animal. If anyone reading this has yet to see them, you should consider correcting that ASAP.
The evening started with Astral Mass, which features AoS’s new bassist Mike Naish. I wasn’t very familiar with them aside from the one track (‘Cosmic String’) they have on Doomed and Stoned’s Indiana compilation. Their Facebook page says that their genre is ‘Space Fuzz,’ and that’s a pretty good description of their sound. Think something like Monster Magnet with harsher vocals, and you’ve got a good idea of Astral Mass’s general vibe. I enjoyed them quite a bit, and look forward to seeing them again with Castle and Potslammer at the 5th on June 26.
I’ve seen West Virginia’s Karma to Burn’s name pop up on so many shows around here that for a while I actually thought they were local. It didn’t take long to see why the instrumental trio are local favorites. It’s all about the riffs—those sweet, groovy riffs that made me want to simultaneously bang my head and shake my hips (though I’m at an age where I would have undoubtedly hurt myself if I’d actually tried to do so). Their 45-minute set seemed like it was over in the blink of an eye. I intend to take a deep dive into their extensive catalogue so I’m better prepared to see them the next time they roll through town.
The Obsessed closed out the evening with a stellar 15-song set that featured songs from both The Obsessed’s and Spirit Caravan’s back catalogues, along with a couple of new tracks that I hope means there’s a new album in the works. Wino’s voice was strong and clear and his rhythm section was tight as they tore through favorites like ‘To Protect and Serve,’ ‘Hiding Mask,’ and ‘Sodden Jackal.’ My only complaint with the show is that they only played one track from Lunar Womb, which is probably my favorite album of theirs, but that’s really a minor complaint. I hope this incarnation of The Obsessed stays together for a while, because they clearly enjoy playing together and it comes through in the music. I hope I get the opportunity to see them again.