Review by Sonny for M.S.W. - Obliviosus (2020)
I love MSW's releases under his Hell banner and a proportion of this album is in very similar vein. This latest album was written over a period of five years and is a very personal album for him as it deals with his brother RAW's ten-year fight with addiction and the toll it has taken on the wider family. What we have here then is four tracks of visceral emotion in which MSW lays his (and his family's) soul bare.
Opener "O Brother" is instantly recognisable to any fan of Hell, but with a twist as it initially features a female vocal section before MSW himself takes over in his usual anguish-ridden vocal style. This is followed by the short instrumental "Funus" that is a gentle piano and violin piece of only three minutes duration. "Humanity" begins in brooding style with a gently strummed guitar before a heaving riff kicks in with accompanying soaring vocals. The song then dips and soars from introspection to fuming anger, superbly dragging the listener along with it on this emotional rollercoaster. The final, eponymous track is almost twenty minutes in length, although I hesitate to call it epic as that implies a certain bombast and that's not what this is about. The sorrow, helplessness and bitterness felt by the loved ones around and affected by a person dealing with addiction are laid bare for all to hear, from the resignation and sadness of the tracks post-metal first half to the seething resentment of the sludge-drenched latter half.
This is metal that is at once vulnerable and vicious, as MSW illustrates musically a spectrum of emotion from concern and compassion to frustration and resentment and in so doing has released an exceptional album and one I wasn't expecting at all. The already well-respected (by me anyway) MSW has gone up even higher in my estimation after this incredibly powerful release that really speaks from the heart and should resonate with anyone who has had any experience with addiction or the addicted.
The first five star album of 2020 for me.