Obol is a rock band from Seattle, Washington. The group was founded by singer, bassist and keyboardist Barry Craig and drummer Derek Butcher. Although the two musicians had been friends for years, they had always been in different projects. Barry often lamented to Derek how his songs were deemed “too weird” or “too pretty” for the metal bands he was in.
Finally, in 2006, after Barry returned home from a tour with The Witching Hour, Derek encouraged Barry to sit down and record the growing list of “too weird” song ideas that he had written.
After releasing several singles via social media with relatively unstable lineups, the band released their first studio album, Revoluçión, in 2013, with guitarist Joey Stanker, keyboardist “Tall” Joe Wasson, and percussionist Josh Zampino. Musically, the songs are equal parts technical, zany, and aggressive. “There is usually a pretty part in every Obol song, where you can catch your breath and explore the space a little. But Revoluçión, as a whole, feels very off-kilter.” Lyrically, Revoluçión tells the story of an affluent young man as he ventures out into the world, his overconfidence and naivety gradually leading him down a path of religious zealotry and murder.
In May 2019, Obol released Dreaming. Dreaming features eleven new tracks telling the story of a patient undergoing tests to diagnose what is killing him. As he fades in and out of consciousness, each song reveals a different past trauma or potential cause of his illness. Themes of estrangement and abuse, crises of faith, and sleep paralysis percolate to the surface. Obol vocalist Barry Craig describes the album as “more melodic and haunting” than 2013’s comparatively upbeat Revoluçión. Dreaming features guitars by Jun Mantrano, plus drums from Will Tooker and long-time collaborator Jeremy Maher.
Obol describes its sound as progressive rock or metal, but encompasses a wide array of pop and mainstream influences including Muse, Placebo, Devin Townsend, Marillion, Leprous, and A Perfect Circle. In his online bio, Barry mentions that he wants the Obol songs to be “just dreamlike enough to create visual images for the listener, but otherwise sound deceptively simple, accessible … and full of memorable hooks.”