Wednesday 2 December 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: The Obsessed, “Incarnate (Ultimate Edition)”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/10/2020
Label: Blues Funeral Recordings

The Review:

“Incarnate” is a compilation of various EPs, rare tracks and demos- as many doom fans will know. The track list is legion and it is thus a lengthy but rewarding listen. Some of the track names you will recognise- and will have heard- in different forms across The Obsessed’s other studio albums.

Some of the material represents the band at their zenith; Wino sounds magnificent and much of the material is top notch. Like the other records by the band, the material has aged incredibly well, or is ageless- if you prefer. For a compilation first released 21 years ago (!) it sounds great and the material is pretty much timeless. The fact that “Sodden Jackal” was re-recorded for the “Sacred” album of a couple of years ago speaks volumes about the quality on offer here.

There are real highlights here; opener “Concrete Cancer” is wonderful, the Grand Funk cover of “Inside Looking Out” is similarly great. It's accurate to say that the likes of “Iron and Stone” sound pretty rough (well, it's a demo from decades ago, so... it isn't going to sound like “The Church Within”, ditto and moreso “Neatz Brigade”) but equally accurate to say that the riffs and atmosphere pf those tracks and of “Mourning” more than make up for the sound quality.

Wino's influences are on display, whether it be the aforementioned GFR or Lynyrd Skynyrd on the cover of “The Hunt” (great song, delivered well here). The versions of more familiar songs, as mentioned above, or of “Hiding Mask”, “Streetside” etc. have something to offer as well- they are different and worth hearing.

How essential any of this is for the casual listener is not for me to say. That said, how many casual listeners of The Obsessed are there?! For a fan, this is a must have. The remaster has made the contents sound better than ever before and this is certainly a sprawling and comprehensive set. Would I recommend this as a doomer's first venture into The Obsessed? Probably not. I would go with the self-titled or “The Church Within” and then go from there.   

It's an essential document of The Obsessed and features a lot of their best material. That's high praise as this band really are a touchstone of the doom genre- as are most records Wino has been involved with.  Of Course,. it’s recommended! 

Incarnate (Ultimate Edition)” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp