Obey album launch – Stoke Sugarmill, August 6th, 2016.

Obey – Photo by 4Q Review

Another recent album launch for me recently where the band play it in its entirety before I’ve heard it and once again have been blown away. A home gig for Obey meant a big crowd for their third studio album Maelstrom at the Sugarmill in Stoke. Before Obey did their thing, we were warmed up by two strong support bands. Openers Sons Of Andal made a glorious stoner rock racket. The Crewe based trio took us back to the days of Blue Cheer with a retro set that reverberated around the room. Highlight for me was a gonzoid cover of the Blue Oyster Cult classic ‘Godzilla’ and they won the the best song title of the night with ‘Siesta Molester’!

Next up were local noisemongers Headpress who never fail to impress. Led by the iron lunged Karl Lawton, they seemed to have hit a slower, heavier groove since I last saw them and they soon filled the front of stage area with headbangers. When they hit their stride it was almost hypnotic and they gave the headliners a hard act to follow.

After their intro tape had finished, Obey took to the stage with their new line up. Bass guitarist Chris Poole has taken on drum duties and his previous spot has been taken on by Dan Ryder. Lead vocalist/guitarist Steve Pickin stood on his monitor, striking a Ted Nugent like pose and hit the riff to album opener ‘No Shelter’. His slashing riffs, backed by some superb pounding from Chris, set the bar high immediately. Following number ‘Embers’ was more laid back, riffs were sparse but no less heavy.

Other highlights were the huge rolling riff that ran through ‘Aberration Day’. As heavy as Entombed have ever written. ‘Death Of The Tree Talker’ was a Mastodon like slow burner featuring a surprisingly soulful lead vocal. ‘All Or Nothing’ was a haunting Fu Manchu tinged stoner opus with a melodic vocal floating over the riffs.  Song of the night for me was the psychedelic tinged ‘Stone Eater’ with some guitar hero shimmering solos. The instrumental  ‘Sea Of Intermittent Tranquility’ was a bit of a curveball, dominated by Chris’ drum assault.

        ‘Gutless’, set closer and first single taken off Maelstrom was a stripped down Slipknot like bruiser with huge stabbing riffs and a catchy, melodic chorus. The band took their bows to rapturous applause and returned with a pummeling cover of ‘Hole In The Sky’. The new album sounded superb and judging by the the queue by the merch stand to buy it, I was not the only one thinking the same thing!

Setlist :-

No Shelter.


Aberration Day.

Death Of The Tree Talker.

House Of Wolves.

All Or Nothing.

Twisted Tabernacle.

Stone Eater.

Sea Of Intermittent Tranquility.

Into The Maelstrom.

Burden Of The Blubber Hunter.


Hole In The Sky (Black Sabbath cover).

Obey band :-

Steve Pickin – Lead vocals.

Chris Poole – Drums.

Dan Ryder – Bass guitar.

About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!