(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Underground United States-based power metal legends Obsession first got together in New Haven, Connecticut circa 1982. The band’s style of dynamically aggressive-yet-melodic power metal struck at the right time with fans of heavy metal music. The band instantly struck a chord with those fans when their song “Shadows of Steel” was included on Metal Blade Records compilation series, Metal Massacre 2.
The track hailed from their nine song 1983 Demo but by most accounts, the breakthrough for Obsession came with that year’s 4-song Marshall Law EP for the label. The band, guitarists Art Maco & Bruce Vitale, bassist Matt Karagus, drummer Jay Mezias and powerhouse vocalist Michael Vescera, were pushing the metallic envelope with their uniquely styled music. It blended strong guitar-driven heaviness with solid rhythms and progressive elements, all of which provided a foundation for Vescera’s incredible vocals to soar upon.
For whatever reason, Obsession would leave Metal Blade around this time, independently issuing a 3-song Demo in 1986. It basically served as the prelude to their superbly impressive full-length debut, Scarred For Life, released via Enigma Records that same year. Though Karagus departed the band, the remaining members quickly recorded and issued the follow-up Methods Of Madness in 1987 for the label also.
Both records were intense, wide ranging releases chock full of fiery borderline speed metal and semi-thrashy ferocity. Neck-whipping solos permeated the well-structured compositions as they covered a wide range of sonic territory. All of which worked to further showcase the impressive, mind-blowing vocal deliveries from the virtuoso Vescera.
Metal fans in the know clamored over the releases, ones which provided songs used in movie soundtracks for such cinematic efforts as Sleepaway Camp II, Sleepaway Camp III and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Despite the growing fan base and consistently incredible releases, Obsession called it quits in 1989.
Thankfully, it is hard to keep a fierce metal band down and Obsession returned in 2004. This version of the band, one that saw Vescera and Mezias now joined by bassist Chris McCarvill and guitarists John Bruno and Scott Borland (who played on Vescera’s solo effort The Altar), were ready to blaze yet again. In 2006 they issued the full-length album Carnival Of Lies for Metal Mayhem Music, an album also produced by Vescera.
This latest incarnation of Obsession exuded the same style of blistering sonic metal that forged the band’s reputation in their earlier years. By this time, Michael Vescera had crafted a spectacular legacy as a singer for such notables as Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Joe Stump’s Reign Of Terror, and handling vocals on two releases with Loudness.
This latest line up of the band would remain intact, save for the arrival of B.J. Zampa, for the next studio outing from Obsession. It would come in the form of the band’s 2012 release for Inner Wound Recordings, Order Of Chaos. In the interim between these two more recent outings, a compilation of Obsession songs was released by Avalon Records in 2008, simply titled Obsession. The band remains a staple of such compilations, such as Metal Blade 15th Anniversary from Metal Blade Records and Heavy Metal Machine – Pull One from Medusa Records.
Obsession remains active at this time in 2017 albeit with a more recent rhythm section that now includes Jeff Curtiss (bass) and Yanni Sofianos (drums). In fact, some cool news about some of the band’s earliest releases was just announced this week.
Inner Wound Recordings will be reissuing the first three releases from these classic metal warriors: The Marshall Law EP, Scarred For Life and Methods Of Madness. They will all be reissued on CD and digital formats, and the release date is set for December 1st for Europe and North America.
The CD editions will include a 12-page booklet that includes lyrics as well as liner notes from Michael Vescera.
Pre-order / purchase these Must-Have Obsession reissues at this location.