By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the most important modern disciples of Black Sabbath’s down-tuned doom-laden metal, Scott “Wino” Weinrich has left an indelible mark on heavy music over the course of four decades. The influential figure first emerged on the Washington, D.C. punk scene, confounding hardcore audiences with the sludgy riffs and lumbering tempos of his first band, the Obsessed.
The Maryland-based group would refine its ominous and foreboding sound for the better part of a decade, but would split up just as the band started making inroads towards a record deal (though the early version of the trio did manage some recordings). Wino would relocated to Southern California for a stint fronting like-minded West Coast brethren Saint Vitus.
Contributing to three albums by the SST Records act including the influential 1986 effort Born Too Late, Wino would grow as a singer before splitting to convene a new line-up of the Obsessed with drummer Greg Rogers (later of the ’90s doom group Goatsnake) and future Kyuss bass player Scott Reeder. The Obsessed would garner enough buzz to get signed to Columbia, putting out the landmark album The Church Within in 1994. Unfortunately, poor sales would lead to another dissolution to the band.
Wino briefly retired from music, but would emerged as a torchbearer for the old-school doom sound. Leading a variety of bands including Spirit Caravan, the Hidden Hand, and Place of Skulls as well as participating in several Saint Vitus reunions (one resulting in the new album, Lillie: F-65 in 2012), recording with the doom supergroup Shrinebuilder featuring Wino alongside Neurosis founder Scott Kelly, Melvins drummer Dale Crover and Sleep/Om bassist Al Cisneros and issuing several acoustic albums including three collaborative collections with Conny Ochs.
In 2016, doom metal fans rejoiced at the announcement that Wino was putting together a new line-up of the Obsessed with longtime Spirit Caravan bassist Dave Sherman and new drummer Brian Constantino. A year later, this version of the band put out the first new Obsessed record in over two decades with the release of Sacred on Relapse Records.
Widely praised as a spectacular comeback album packed with some of Wino’s heaviest riffs in recent memory, the collection bristles with headbanging tunes like “Punk Crusher” the title track and a new version of the early song “Sodden Jackal.” The same year, Relapse also reissued the band’s eponymous debut with CD versions including a bonus disc that included early demos and a live recording from 1985.
Though Sherman has since departed (the current bass player filling out the trio is Brian “Wendy” White), fans are sure to turn out to see doom legend Wino (who signed a new solo deal with Bay Area imprint Ripple Music last year) and his band at the Oakland Metro Thursday night. The band will be joined by rising local metal outfit Theya (who made their debut performance last June) and Oakland-based gothic metal crew Antler Family.
Thursday, Jan. 9, 8 p.m. $16
Oakland Metro Operahouse