Scott “Wino” Weinrich is a living legend. In a way he’s the American version of Lemmy and shares many traits with the late, much beloved metal icon. He’s always been a rebel, loner and an outsider in an outsider scene, pursuing his music without regard for popularity or acceptance. In the process he came to be considered one of the early pioneers of American doom. All of this began when he founded The Obsessed back in the 70s. As a key part of the 80s Washington/Maryland music scene, his music earned the respect of metal, punk and crossover fans alike while often being dubbed “doom metal.” Looking back though, it was really just gritty, street-wise American metal with a cynical bent and psychedelic flair.

He went on to join doom legends Saint Vitus and eventually disbanded The Obsessed in the early 90s after releasing three albums. Later he would launch Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand and several solo albums as well as playing in Shrinebuilder and Place of SkullsSacred is his first release under The Obsessed banner since 1994s The Church Within, and after 23 years away, I was unsure of exactly what to expect. Since Wino is the sole original member, this sounds like the same stripped down, back alley, hard rock influenced metal he’s known for, but heavier and more doom-centric than the old albums. Not that it matters anyway because it’s fucking Wino, man!

Opener “Sodden Jackal” greets you with big, burly doom riffing and an approach very similar to modern day Pentagram. The song has a laid back, casually heavy vibe and the frenetic solos impart sizzling jolts of energy. The song breaks at the 3-minute mark before going even deeper into Sabbathian doom riffing and winds down with some truly leaden leads. “Punk Crusher” is a much more upbeat, urgent rocker with more than a little Motörhead influence and you can almost hear Lemmy sharing vocals with Wino. It’s a fun asskicker of a tune with lots of leathery charisma.

The highlights include the hard hitting grooves and razor sharp riffing of the title track, the tough, punchy “Perseverance of Futility,” and the surprisingly catchy, melancholic charm of “Stranger Things.”  “My Daughter, My Sons” reminds me a lot of the Victor Griffin’s (Pentagram) solo material and has that same languid 70s rock sensibility mixed with rough and rowdy riffage. The Griffin/Pentagram similarities are present throughout the album and this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as the two guitarists have had parallel careers and played together in Place of Skulls. Things end well with the barroom badassery of “Be the Night,” and those who get the bonus cuts will be treated to an awesome nine-minute jam-filled fantasy trip called “On So Long,” which reeks of 70s psychedelic rock and reefer madness (the guitar work here is some of the best on the album).

Sacred isn’t an immediate album and took several spins to fully open up for me, but when it did, it really did, and the simple arrangements took on unexpected depth and feeling. At 43 minutes it’s the perfect length and the production puts the appropriate amount of emphasis on the guitar, while the mix conveys a rugged gravitas.

Wino’s playing is very warm and engaging whether he’s churning out classic Iommi-worshiping leads, digging deep into the fuzz rock of the 70s or dabbling in American folk rock. He plays with a kind of working class, every man sensibility and the sincerity and honesty cannot be overstated. His earthy, lived in vocals have aged like fine hobo wine. He still sounds vibrant, edgy and full of piss, vodka and vinegar, like a wise street sage you’d best heed if you know what’s good for you. He’s supported well by Dave Sherman on bass and Brian Costantino on drums, both of whom served time in Wino’s Spirit Caravan project. They form a tight trio and generate a mix of 70s rock and doom as well suited for biker bars as metal clubs.

Wino is a national treasure and as authentic as a musician can be. In a time without Lemmy’s bigger than life personality, Wino’s underground earnestness is all the more precious and Sacred does right by the legacy of The Obsessed. I’m very thankful Wino resurrected his original project and that he’s still out there creating music this interesting and meaty. If you never heard The Obsessed, I’d suggest starting with the classic 80s albums, but Sacred is well worth your time and a very good addition to the Wino cellar. Face it, everyone needs more Wino in their lives.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Relapse
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 7th, 2017

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  • Huck N’ Roll

    Well done. Like you, I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but after a few listens found myself really enjoying it. Awesome guitar tones throughout.

  • GardensTale

    Big burly old school riffery. Tasty.

  • Sean Sky

    Unfamiliar with Wino and The Obsessed; time to do my homework. Also RIP Lemmy.

    • ashcindersmoke

      He’s got about a 100 different projects and they’re all pretty swell. Happy hunting!

  • brutal_sushi

    More of a Swano man mahself!

  • rumour_control

    “[Wino] still sounds vibrant, edgy and full of piss, vodka and vinegar, like a wise street sage you’d best heed if you know what’s good for you.” — Great write-up. Thank you.

  • Refined-Iron Cranium

    It’s always a good day when you hear an album from Wino. And goodness, you’re right, the Victor Griffin influences are striking – but they’re welcome (big Pentagram / Place of Skulls fan here). Also liking the slightly upbeat nature of some of the songs.

    Thanks to Relapse for reminding me about this one too!

  • junkyhead

    This is a great album. Anything Wino touches hardly disappoints.

  • Metrognome26

    I love that this album comes out on the first day of my vacation. My weed guy is probably even happier about that than I am.

  • Eli Valcik

    Glad Steely “3.5” D was given a laptop in prison so he can continue to write for us.

    • I’m on home arrest. I have a cool metal bracelet.

  • Bas

    Sodden Jackal: burly doom.. It must be quite different from the original version. From the whole review it seems to be doomier than the old obsessed material. Doesnt it get too close to st vitus? Or does it keep the Obsessed style?
    I loved Spirit Caravan so I am glad his old partners are back with him!

    • Heavier than the old The Obsessed stuff, not quite to Saint Vitus levels on every song but some get close to that and Pentagram.

      • Bas

        Thanks. Sounds good. I’m gonna get it (with bonus track!).

  • ashcindersmoke

    Mr. Druhm do you by chance know when we’ll be getting new records from Atlantean Kodex, Darkest Era or While Heaven Wept? Great review super excited for this.

    • I haven’t heard of anything imminent from those bands but I hope it’s soon.

      • ashcindersmoke

        It’s been especially long for Atlantean Kodex I need my fix

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Proper badass rock n’roll dude… Respect!

  • Treble Yell

    Love Wino to pieces and Lunar Womb is a masterpiece so this is a must-buy. The embedded track is quite nice, smoother and less gritty than early The Obsessed but still very nice. Reminds me of the peyote-tinged music he produced in Premonition 13. Great wordin’, Steel.

  • Pigford

    Last summer I went to day 2 of the Maryland Doomfest in Frederick Md (where I happen to live & work) just to see the Obsessed,I’m a fan of everything Wino does but the Obsessed stuff particularly The Church Within is by far my favorite,their set was awesome,just kick ass Rock&Roll the way it should be done.About 2 weeks later I was in the Burlington Coat Factory next to where I work & guess who I run into? Wino,I stopped & talked to him for a few minutes trying not to sound like an idiot (that’s because I was genuinely shocked that it was happening)& he was such a cool,down to earth,real deal motherfucker…I asked him a few questions about the new album & any upcoming local shows & he said they’d be opening for Clutch in Dec at the 9:30 club….I went to the show just to see the Obsessed (I’ve seen Clutch 7-8 times there & now that I’m older I can’t tolerate the way 9:30 oversells shows so I stopped going)well I run into Wino again & he remembered me…that goes to show what type of a dude he is & my personal opinion is it’s a crime he’s not more well known in this country but oh well…it’s their loss

    • I couldn’t agree more. It’s a dirty shame Wino isn’t more widely known and appreciated.

      • Pigford

        Just to maybe give people a little bit more of an understanding about my introduction to Wino,I’m 45 years old & grew up literally like 5-10 minutes outside of D.C. (Northern Virginia to be exact) & I didn’t get turned on to the Obsessed until 94 when I moved to San Francisco….I was in the shower one afternoon & could here my roommate blasting his stereo (which I never had a problem with) & I couldn’t hear very clearly but I could sort of feel it if that makes any sense & the vocals,the riffs & the drumming just drew me in the way the food aromas would draw in Woody Woodpecker,it was everything I like about hard rock,my point being I grew up-lived in the same general area as Wino & I had to all the way across the country to get turned on to the Obsessed…the D.C. area ignores local music & always have ,aside from Good Charlotte & the Foo Fighters….they ignore Clutch,Fugazi,Bad Brains,Minor Threat,Lamb of God,GWAR,Karma to Burn & the entire Doom,Punk,Hardcore scenes altogether….they don’t even advertise local shows on the radio unless the band is popular nationally…whenever I tell a co-worker or whoever that I’m going to see one of Wino’s 99% of the time they’ve never heard of who I’m talking about & this is fuckin where he’s from…Baltimore isn’t quite as bad but D.C. fuckin sucks donkey balls,there I feel a little better now ???

  • Lifendeath

    Graeat piece of badass metal, Cheers Wino. Seen the guy couple of times witghh vitus, with spirit caravan and the obsessed also, at Hellfest. Everytime we shared hash and booze… very cool dude