THE SKULL / THE OBSESSED Live Concert Review (2021)
- Venue: Cobra Lounge – Chicago, Illinois
- Date: July 31, 2021
- Special guests: High Priest, Black Road, Sacred Monster
- Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
- All photos Copyright Michael L. Juvinall/Monu-Metal Photography – All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to Liz Ciavarella-Brenner @Earsplit PR
There’s nothing quite like a night of Doom metal. Especially from the bands I came to witness on this night in Chicago proper. The bands in the lineup ranged from old-school doom metal, stoner metal, and sludge metal. On this night at Chicago’s iconic Cobra Lounge, I came to see the veteran masters of old-school doom metal – the city’s own The Skull. These guys were co-headliners along with the equally iconic doomsters The Obsessed. Special guests for the evening came from three local bands including High Priest, Black Road, and Sacred Monster.
The two co-headliners are taking turns ending the shows for each night of the tour. On this night we were lucky enough to have The Skull end the evening. I say this happily because it gave the band extra time to play as the headlining group for the evening.
First, a bit of history for those not in the know about the legacy of The Skull. The band was formed in 2012 by three former members of the legendary doom band Trouble. The co-founder and architect of that band is lead singer Eric Wagner, who is the frontman of The Skull. He brought along with him, bassist Ron Holzner and drummer Jeff Olson. Olson is no longer with the band though. With this type of lineage and pedigree, The Skull deserves the utmost respect as a band.
The Skull started their set out with the thunderous song, The Endless Road Turns Dark from their most recent 2018 album of the same name. The guys went on to play a mixture of their two original full-length albums and some Trouble classics which always gets the crowds roaring.
Wagner on vocals is always fun to see perform. His vocals are somewhat softer than they used to be in past but he can still belt them out. I’ve always noticed with Wagner, he has a penchant to wander off stage quite often to let the guys go at it. I’m not sure if he heads out for a quick smoke break or what but he wasn’t really able to do that at this venue, he was kind of trapped on stage. The guitarists Lothar Keller and Alex Johnson were tearing up the club with their exquisite chops and play well together. Veteran bassist Ron Holzner was in his element back on stage as he handled the low-end duty very nicely. Finally, Henry Vazquez behind the kit was a maniac in the thunder department. He was going so strongly on the drums, at one point I thought he would literally pass out.
The Skull, along with their counterpart band Trouble plays a particular brand of doom metal like no other band can. This has always been my favorite type of doom. It’s a slow, chugging, and very heavy down-tuned guitar sound that will just rattle the teeth right out of your head. This show has been my umpteenth time seeing the band live and they are just as tight and heavy as they’ve ever been. Always a great show seeing The Skull live. These guys are really an underrated band in the world of modern doom metal. I don’t see them mentioned in the ranks of the best the genre has to offer, but they are the best at what they do.
4.5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- The Endless Road Turns Dark
- Send Judas Down
- Touch Of Reality
- As The Sun Draws Near
- Trapped Inside My Mind
- Till The Sun Turns Black
- The Longing
- A New Generation
- For Those Which Are Asleep
- The Tempter (Trouble cover)
- At The End of My Daze (Trouble cover)
This band is a heavy-doom metal trio based out of Maryland. The Obsessed have been around a long time and have had a few different stints as a band. The band is led by Scott “Wino” Weinrich, who also had a stint in Saint Vitus when The Obsessed were on one of their breaks.
On this night, the band was seemingly having some technical troubles that were irritating the fellows a bit. Their set got off to a late start due to a lengthy delay while the bass player Brian White was having a tough time with his amp. When they finally got that settled, the boys settled into their set.
I’m not sure if they were rattled or angry because of the delay, but the band was good but not what I would’ve expected for a band of their experience. Then, around mid-way through their set, Wino began having problems with his guitar amp. After a ten or fifteen-minute delay, he was back on track. But it seemed as if they only played a couple of more songs then ended their set abruptly. I was not privy to whether as if they did end their set early or not. I was not able to procure a setlist from their for the night.
3 out of 5 Pentagrams!
High Priest is a 4-piece stoner-doom band from Chicago. They served as direct support on this date for The Skull/The Obsessed. These guys have been a band for about five years. While admittedly not a huge fan of stoner metal, High Priest did a lot to keep me engaged during their set. They are great musicians who have a good rapport with one another. Their vocalist left me a little unsure of his ability, mainly because I could barely hear his vocals over the music.
The band was decently heavy with some good riffs, but I knew I was seeing a stoner band when the lead singer was on stage in flip flops.
3 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Cosmic key
Black Road is another stoner-doom metal band based in Chicago. The band is a 4-piece fronted by the super sultry Suzi Uzi.
I was impressed with Black Road’s ability and musicality. There is something about the band that kept me interested. Uzi’s vocals are great and her sexiness or sultriness really did the trick for me. The rest of the band are heavy in a psychedelic way. It’s difficult to say why Black Road left a better impression on me than a band like High Priest. They’re both really good, professional bands, I just liked the sound of Black Road slightly more.
I look forward to seeing more from this band.
3.5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- Hash King
- Never Enough
- Witch of the Future
Sacred Monster opened the night off as the first of the three local bands invited to join the masters for the night. In keeping in sync with the night’s offerings, this band is a stoner-doom metal band 4-piece.
While the band may not have been the best of the local groups this evening, they caught my attention for having a horror side to them. Many of their songs and lyrics deal with dark and horror-related topics. Several songs were inspired by author H.P. Lovecraft and that catches my attention.
They are a young band but have been together for almost a decade. Sacred Monster have some great heaviness and their songs are quite enjoyable. I think they have good potential as a band, but they’re not quite there yet. I’d be interested to see this band again in a few years to see how they have matured.
2.5 out of 5 Pentagrams!
- The Hound
- High Confessor
- Cats Of Ulthar
- The Mothman Lives
- Charles Dexter Ward