MSW reveals trauma involving brother’s addiction on stormy, wrenching offering ‘Obliviosus’

There are so many things in this world, just based on this year alone, that could cause one to struggle with demons and be tormented by deep-seeded issues lying under the surface. But for others, there are things that have been causing personal darkness long before this dreaded year 2020 ever struck, and they just might still exist once this has passed the rest of us.

Addiction is one of those horrible forces, and MSW, mastermind of Hell and Cloud, has faced that for more than a decade now as he and his family have dealt with his brother’s own battle. That fight is a centerpiece of MSW’s first record under his own moniker, the powerful and gut-wrenching “Obliviosus.” Here, over four tracks, MSW unleashes his sadness, frustrations, and hurt in a way unlike before, though musically you can hear some tenets of each project in the DNA. He’s joined by guests in a few spots—Carli McNutt and Jess Carroll vocally and Gina Eygenhuysen on violin—to help flesh out this document and add even more emotion and tumult to what’s going on in these songs. It’s heavy, powerful, and gripping, conveying not only the suffering MSW and his family have felt but even some of the chaos surrounding us every day. This record will crush you. The music has been available digitally since July, but the physical copy is set to be out soon, hence why we’re bringing it to you now.

“O Brother” starts with guitars clashing and doom falling as sorrowful guitars bleed into the night. McNutt’s vocals immediately haunt as she calls out before the ground breaks, and MSW’s shrieks penetrate. The tempo chugs hard as McNutt’s singing swirls in air, while the playing begins to punish hard. “I will never forgive you,” MSW calls painfully while an angelic haze drops, and guitars rain down like ice daggers. “Funus” is an instrumental bridge that immerses itself in darkness and piano drips like a cold rain, and the strings scrape in and later flood into full body. The emotional pall is heavy and makes your chest heave with pain and grief.

“Humanity” pokes open with shadow-rich guitars and strings adding a heavy glaze while the drums begin to crush, and guitars blaze. “With four angels it took my hand and yet behold, then you came along, this poison, head severed with blackened blood,” MSW calls cleanly before a huge gust strikes, and the vocals turn into a roar. “Look, our children, they’re dying with their hands held high,” he wails, digging into the pain as the leads churn in lava, and noises disappear into a flow of noise. The title track ends the record and starts with guitars agitating before a doomy storm laps shores, and the leads light up the sky. Strings flood as wordless calls connect, while the music feels like it’s floating along on a clean tide. About 10 minutes into this 19:40-long cut, MSW’s first shrieks tear open as the bass clobbers and the guitars rush. A gazey caterwaul brings added pressure, pounding away as it gusts, as MSW jolts, “Our family destroyed, dragging your fists through the open void, where are you, my brother?” Massive waves of devastation get swallowed by a noise gust, and suddenly it feels like the world is toppling before the music approaches the void and rumbles to the end.

I cannot imagine the torment that led to MSW creating the four tracks that make up “Obliviosus,” the first record MSW released under his name. These songs are centered in a chaos and hell that seems insurmountable, and the emotion, rage, and sadness that are ever present in every track never try to hide or pretend they aren’t there. MSW’s creative fire is much different here than what we hear from his other projects, and the fact that this one is so personal makes it like nothing he ever released before.

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