POSSESSED

Death Metal / Thrash Metal • United States
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Possessed is an American death/thrash metal band and was formed in 1982 in San Francisco, California. After breaking up in 1993, the band reformed under original bassist/vocalist Jeff Becerra in 2007. They are noted for their fast playing style, Becerra's guttural vocals and have been cited as an influence on the death metal genre. The band's influence on the genre is so great that they are sometimes called the "godfathers" of the death metal genre and are often considered the first death metal group, with the name of the genre possibly coming from their first demo entitled "Death Metal".

The band originated in San Francisco in 1983. The band recruited Jeff Becerra to take over the lead vocal position following the death of original lead vocalist, Barry Fisk. The following years were spent practicing and working on their sound by performing at local venues. Through their early live performances they
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Revelations Of OblivionRevelations Of Oblivion
Nuclear Blast 2019
$12.03
$12.96 (used)
Seven ChurchesSeven Churches
Imports 2013
$8.79
$11.85 (used)
Beyond The Gates (incl. The Eyes Of Horror-EP)(Re-issue 2019)(StandardCD Jewelcase)Beyond The Gates (incl. The Eyes Of Horror-EP)(Re-issue 2019)(StandardCD Jewelcase)
Columbia Europe 2019
$10.51
$15.24 (used)
The Eyes Of Horror (Re-issue 2019)(black LP)The Eyes Of Horror (Re-issue 2019)(black LP)
Columbia Europe 2019
$23.33
$24.69 (used)
Beyond The Gates (Re-issue 2019)(Black LP)Beyond The Gates (Re-issue 2019)(Black LP)
Columbia Europe 2019
$23.96
$27.25 (used)
ReanimationReanimation
CD Baby 2011
$16.55
$20.47 (used)
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Possessed (CD, Nov-1992, Mute) Possessed (CD, Nov-1992, Mute) USD $5.00 Buy It Now 1h 33m
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eX (Early Music Ensemble) - Possessed - Brand new unopened in original packaging eX (Early Music Ensemble) - Possessed - Brand new unopened in original packaging USD $6.06 (0 bids)
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POSSESSED Discography

POSSESSED albums / top albums

POSSESSED Seven Churches album cover 4.22 | 20 ratings
Seven Churches
Death Metal 1985
POSSESSED Beyond the Gates album cover 4.11 | 9 ratings
Beyond the Gates
Thrash Metal 1986
POSSESSED Revelations of Oblivion album cover 4.74 | 3 ratings
Revelations of Oblivion
Death Metal 2019

POSSESSED EPs & splits

POSSESSED The Eyes of Horror album cover 3.47 | 6 ratings
The Eyes of Horror
Thrash Metal 1987
POSSESSED Entombed / Possessed album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Entombed / Possessed
Thrash Metal 2002
POSSESSED Resurrection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Resurrection
Death Metal 2003
POSSESSED Ashes from Hell album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ashes from Hell
Death Metal 2006

POSSESSED live albums

POSSESSED Agony in Paradise album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Agony in Paradise
Thrash Metal 2004

POSSESSED demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

POSSESSED Death Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death Metal
Death Metal 1984
POSSESSED Demo 1985 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 1985
Death Metal 1985
POSSESSED Demo 1993 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo 1993
Thrash Metal 1993

POSSESSED re-issues & compilations

POSSESSED Victims of Death the Best of Possessed album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Victims of Death the Best of Possessed
Thrash Metal 1992
POSSESSED Beyond the Gates / The Eyes of Horror album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Beyond the Gates / The Eyes of Horror
Thrash Metal 1998
POSSESSED Reanimation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reanimation
Thrash Metal 2012
POSSESSED Vinyl Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Vinyl Collection
Thrash Metal 2012

POSSESSED singles (0)

POSSESSED movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Possessed by Evil
Thrash Metal 2007

POSSESSED Reviews

POSSESSED Revelations of Oblivion

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
When Possessed went through their various bust ups, there was a feeling among fans that the band’s true potential was never fully realised.

Through the legendary “Death Metal” demo, the influential “Seven Churches” album (NOT the first death metal album. No, it just fucking wasn’t, even if this site says it is!), the slightly more polished “Beyond The Gates” (which has one of the stupidest album covers ever), and the mellower “Eyes of Horror” mini album, Possessed had created a small, powerful, but occasionally patchy catalogue of evil, high energy thrash.

The band first split in 1987, not long after the release of “The Eyes of Horror”, with a variety of fates befalling the various band members. Guitarist Larry LaLonde joined fellow San Fran thrashers Blind Illusion, and then to rock weirdos Primus. Guitarist Mike Torrao continued with the Possessed name, but the band’s reputation had declined to the point where they suffered the indignity of playing support to an up-and-coming unsigned band by the name of Machine Head. Bass player/vocalist Jeff Becerra was shot in 1989 during a robbery, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Swept away in the great metal purge of the early 1990s, it seemed this legendary band had died young and left a beautifully ugly corpse.

But then an unusual thing happened. Possessed came back from the dead. “Revelations of Oblivion” is the result. The wheelchair-bound Becerra decided that 32 years was long enough for the world to be without a new Possessed album, so put together a band, wrote some songs, and recorded this little beauty. It all looks so easy when written like that...

When the creation of this album was first announced, the naysayers were quick to jump in with opinions on how bad it would be. After all, there’s only one original member left in the band, often not a great recipe for success. However, the most important element is the one that’s left – Becerra’s distinct shout/scream vocals. Have you ever tried singing sitting down? No, not just at a birthday party or in church (eek!), but really SINGING. Ever notice that professional singers always stand? Look at opera singers, choirs, and pretty much any band or performer you ever see. Singers stand. Why? Because that’s where the power comes from. Volume and breath control comes from being able to stand and move freely. See where this is going? Jeff Becerra is confined to a wheelchair. Listen to his vocals. The difference between 2019 and 1987 is negligible. Yeah, studios, recording methods, technology and all that shit have advanced immeasurably in those three decades, but you can’t work wizardry unless you have the right noises to work with in the first place. Becerra still sounds angry, evil, and most importantly, powerful. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of what he has achieved here.

And the naysayers can fuck off. “Revelations of Oblivion” finally realises the full potential of what Possessed always threatened. No, this won’t have the impact or influence that the band’s earlier work did, mainly because there’s a shit-ton more top quality extreme metal in the late 2010s than there was in the late 1980s. Extremity has sprouted in numerous black, dead, grinding, and technical directions since that time, and any single release now will have a more specific audience than back in Possessed’s initial run. However, if old school thrash which dabbles in cartoonish Satanic themes is your thing, then you won’t top this.

“Chant of Oblivion” is ye olde traditional spooky intro track. Tolling bells fading in with spooky horror movie orchestration and chants. So far, so clichéd, so fucking good!

And then the album bursts straight into the speedy evil “No More Room In Hell”. The first and most obvious thing is that while the sound is sharp and clear, it’s distinctively Possessed. No one else wrote or played wrist snapping riffs like that. Spiky, sharp guitar riffs, courtesy of Daniel Gonzalez and Claudeous Creamer, fly off each other. And that’s the great thing here. There’s nothing these two do which would have been out of place if done by LaLonde and Torrao. It’s Possessed, done in the style of Possessed.

Drums were always the weak link in the original Possessed line-up. Mike Sus was enthusiastic, but never very technically proficient, and couldn’t quite keep up with the rest of the band. No longer. Well, Sus is no longer in the band anyway, having gone on to become a psychologist, but drummer Emilio Marquez doesn’t miss a beat, which is a dreadfully clichéd way to describe a drummer, but this guy is faultless and powerful, and clichés become clichés because they fit.

Drums and guitars aside though, this is really the Jeff Becerra show. “Damned” has a great vocal melody, with rapid fire rhyming couplets, which gives it a weird evil Dr Seuss feel, but it’s near flawless. “Shadowcult” features a wicked chant. “The Word” blasts in with a great opening riff, but as soon as Becerra’s rasp hits, it’s obvious the guitars are only there as a vehicle for this voice.

In 2006, Celtic Frost surprised the metal world with “Monotheist”, easily their strongest album, a decade and a half past their supposed prime. Strongest, yes. Most influential, no. It was never going to be since times had changed. The same thing has happened here with Possessed. “Revelations of Oblivion” is stronger and more consistent than anything Possessed created in the 1980s, but despite finally realising the band’s full potential. it’s not going to have the impact of the previous albums. Unlike Celtic Frost though, let’s hope Possessed don’t call it a day after this.

POSSESSED Revelations of Oblivion

Album · 2019 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
Regarded by many to have spawned the death metal genre, Seven Churches, the debut album from Possessed released way back in 1985, whether you agree with that or not was certainly a brilliant and highly influential album. Whilst not bad by any means the follow up Beyond The Gates saw the band retreating into more standard thrash territory. Apart from an EP in 1987 that was pretty much it. Although active again as a live band since 2007 it’s taken some time but finally thirty three years later Possessed are back with a new album though vocalist Jeff Becerra is the sole remaining member of the original band.

The new Possessed remain largely true to the band’s sound of old but whilst Seven Churches despite being generally well played could be a bit sloppy in places. Not surprisingly, the new band come across as much tighter having the benefit of time and modern recording and production techniques at their disposal not to mention being great musicians. After a short intro the album kicks off proper with No More Room In Hell, a song I’d heard a while back being released as a pre-album taster. It comes in all guns blazing, fast with razor sharp and extremely busy guitar riffs. Equal parts death metal and thrash it’s a brilliant statement on intent. Becerra whose vocals are better than they ever were has assembled a fine band that does the Possessed name justice. Guitarists Daniel Gonalez and Claudeous Creamer’s riffs twist and turn with power and precision as well as playing some jaw dropping solos – these guys can shred with the best of them, drummer Emilio Marquez lets rip with a barrage of fast fills and rolling double kicks and bassist Robert Cardenas provides a solid but highly dextrous bottom end.

Hearing this a while back and being mightily impressed had led me to expect great things from the album to come. Fortunately I wasn’t to be disappointed as whilst there’s not really anything here that tops No More Room In Hell much of the rest of the album is as good or not far behind, following track Dominion being a case in point keeping things going at the same breakneck tempo and displaying equal precision. This is the case for most of the album with the tempo rarely slowing down and when it does like on Demon it’s never for a whole song. Faults? None really but at fifty four minutes it’s quite an exhausting listen with little variation in tempo so perhaps a couple of songs shorter might have worked better, but a minor issue.

Some may consider it sacrilege but I believe Possessed have not only equalled their debut, but actually bettered it. This is going to be up there with my albums of the year for sure come December. Hopefully it won’t be another thirty three years before we get another one.

POSSESSED Seven Churches

Album · 1985 · Death Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Riding in the wake of Venom’s monumental extreme metal debut “Welcome To Hell,” several bands jumped into the earliest extreme metal mosh pits and churned out some of the most brutal and ugliest music to hit the early 80s metal scene. Just as the NWOBHM was taking off, so too was a far nastier underground relative. One of the first extreme metal sub-genera to take off was the burgeoning thrash scene with bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer at the forefront adding increased tempos, more obnoxious lyrical deliveries, gorier subject matter and an ever increasing decibel war for more heavy duty head banging action. Out of these Slayer was the most extreme with a highly aggressive musical style and lyrical topics that included murder, necrophilia, Satanism, torture and hate crimes. With the popularity of their 1983 debut album “Show No Mercy,” it wouldn’t take much time for new bands to take things to the next level of intensity.

Having been highly influenced by bands like Venom, Motorhead, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, POSSESSED formed out of a group of Bay Area miscreants in the Pinole and El Sobrante suburbs which found a new group of energetic youth ready to join the ranks of the most extreme noisemakers in the underground 80s metal scene. Living the extreme metal life style before they ever really got started, it all began when guitarist Mike Torrao and drummer Mike Sus got together with vocalist Barry Fisk and bassist Jeff Andrews to create some of the fastest galloping riffs laced with extreme aggressive bombast with enough distortion to raise the dead. Soon after formation, Fisk would commit suicide and Andrews jumped ship because it was just all too goddamn freaky! After stealing guitarist Larry LaLonde and vocalist Jeff Becerra from another local band named Blizzard, the classic POSSESSED lineup was in existence and the world would never be the same.

After a couple years of paying their dues in the local scenes, POSSESSED finally caught the attention of Combat Records and in 1985 they would drop their metal bomb SEVEN CHURCHES upon an unsuspecting planet. With a title taken from the “Seven Churches Of Asia” snatched from the Bible in Book Of Revelation,” POSSESSED proved to be a bigger, badder, faster and louder musical entity than the band’s initial influences and although they claim not to have been influenced by Slayer in the songwriting process, it’s hard to believe that after hearing such classics as “Show No Mercy” that it wasn’t like a lightning bolt of energy to take the band to the next level of extremity. With the release of SEVEN CHURCHES, the band would find themselves playing with some of the classic bands like Celtic Frost, Destruction, Voivod and Nasty Savage and gaining a new army of followers with each performance with their unrelenting speed, over the top aggression and no nonsense lyrical gore. A new generation of extreme metal was born.

SEVEN CHURCHES also has the distinct honor as being considered by some as the very first death metal album. After all, many of the characteristics that Trey Azagthoth of Morbid Angel would develop were directly borrowed from the blueprint laid out on POSSESSED monumental debut release. However, the 80s was a time of extreme metal nascency when half cooked broths simmered in semi-coagulated stews and all the proper ingredients hadn’t quite been added to consider it a full member of the death metal club that would gestate in a mere two years after Chuck Schuldiner released what many as well as myself consider to be the first true death metal album, “Scream Bloody Gore” by Death. SEVEN CHURCHES has been analyzed to “death” by metal historians far and wide and is now considered that essential album that connected the dots between thrash and death metal. Much like Venom’s lauded debut album that hosted the track titled “Black Metal,” (Welcome To Hell” was not really a black metal album per se but prognosticated a world in which it would exist), so too did SEVEN CHURCHES clairvoyantly predict another metal strain with the closing track “Death Metal.”

The nitpicking of metal sub-genera can seem arbitrary. I mean, why wouldn’t this be death metal? Becerra’s grunted vocals are obnoxious as hell like a pit of vipers being grilled alive. The LaLonde / Torrao dual guitar attack is filled with pummeling earache inducing riffs, scorching squealing guitar solos and the most death metal trait of all - tremolo picking. Pounding percussive drives of the drums and bass despite Sus’ obvious enervating ability to keep up with the guitar frenzies. However a careful analysis will find that POSSESSED lacked a few traits that made death metal, well complete. First of all are those very lazy drumming patterns that failed to (mostly) match the intensity of the guitar fury. While death metal would deviate compositionally from thrash, POSSESSED seemed to be in the process of divorcing itself from thrash metal but the riffs still come off as thrash metal on speed. Compositionally speaking, most of the tracks have a rather Motorhead sort of NWOBHM underpinning which allows a more familiar traditional metal feel to bleed through unlike the future disregard for such constructs. POSSESSED were well on their way and if they had stayed on target most likely would have created the first true death metal album as a sophomore release.

However, that wasn’t meant to be as the band devolved back into their thrash leaning on their second album “Beyond The Gates” before disbanding in 1987. Despite the short shelf life of the band’s actual existence, POSSESSED has nevertheless proven to be one of THE most influential bands in the metal world’s history by virtually creating the blueprints for the death metal world to expand upon. While personal tragedy would effect many of the members such as Jeff Becerra’s paralysis from a gunshot wound in an armed robbery gone wrong, the band nevertheless lived a full life in a few short years having played with Slayer and Venom and unleashing their pivotal musical gem that spawned a completely distinct branch off of the parent metal tree. Now that’s no easy task, folks. As historians continuously comb the ashes of the rubble from the past, time and time again it emerges that SEVEN CHURCHES comes out near the top as one of the most celebrated moments in extreme metal history. While the band may have had a short shelf life the first time around, this sole album has only continued to attract new generations of devout followers not only for its prescience in extreme metal trends but as a primo listening experience in its own right. Good job, guys! I’m a fan.

POSSESSED Seven Churches

Album · 1985 · Death Metal
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voila_la_scorie
I was in my front yard, pulling up weeds and plugged into my Walkman when my girlfriend came up and leapt upon my back, snatched the headphones off my heads and clapped them over her own. She began banging her head in mocked exaggeration, saying, “Oh, yeah, heavy metal!” Little did either of us know that the music on the cassette would later be regarded by many as the first death metal album.

Back in 1985, Possessed were just another thrash metal band on the Banzai label in Canada. The speed was there as it was to be expected. In fact, Possessed seemed more hell bent for speed than most other bands. At least Metallica and Slayer and the likes could slow down for some monsters riffs. Possessed only did that twice on the album. Jeff Becerra’s vocals were darker and more evil, suitable for a band named Possessed, but after hearing Tom Warrior’s barbarian bellow, Quorthon’s sinister Popeye croak, and Tom Araya’s demonic howling, this was just another crayon colour in the box.

Possessed were about being fast, Satanic, and frightening. Few songs expressed much technically and there was no subtlety outside of the opening guitar reproduction of Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” piano theme. To many, this is just a thrash album that pointed in the direction of death metal to come. To others, the unpredictable guitar solos are too wild and unformatted to be true thrash. The fact that there’s a song called “Death Metal” might also be reason to call this album the first of the subgenre. In a YouTube video tracing the musical roots of death metal back from 1990, the 10-minute journey winds up with “Fallen Angel” from this album. But as the liner notes to the re-issue suggest, “death metal” or “black metal” (the distinction had not yet been made clear) could be heard in the music of Hellhammer, Bathory, Kreator, Destruction, Death, Sodom, and Slayer. It was the primordial soup of extreme metal that would produce not one but two sub-genres with “Seven Churches” emerging as a death metal sign post.

Though the production often gets criticized, this is one of those albums that lets you forget about the sound quality as you listen. The guitars attempt speeds so fast that drummer Mike Sus cannot manage more than a standard thrash metal, fast snare beat. Some kick drumming is going on there at times but not like what we’d hear soon. The song writing is pretty typical of the time: shout “666!” a few times and roar evilly about Satan and Hell. Well, it's possible there were deeper lyrics as someone in the band was big on reading if I recall an old interview correctly. Nevertheless, as a historically significant album and a look back on thrash metal and extreme metal in the mid-eighties, this is a little gem to have.

POSSESSED Seven Churches

Album · 1985 · Death Metal
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Nightfly
Back in the mists of time, in the 80’s, I had my first introduction to extreme metal with the thrash metal movement and quickly became a big fan of many bands of the genre my favourites being Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Celtic Frost and Exodus. At the time the true significance of Possessed never really hit home with me and I thought of them as simply another thrash metal band, albeit one at the more extreme end of the genre. Inspired by Venom and Exodus in particular, in retrospect it was clear that if any band had a claim on being the first death metal band then they could be it. Their first demo had even been called death metal!

Seven Churches is their debut album and with song titles like The Exorcist, Pentagram and Burning In Hell their image was more Satanic than most bands around at the time. The music still stands strong today with great playing, especially in the guitar department and is complex, relentlessly fast, brutal and incredibly heavy aided by a thick organic production. The riffs ooze evil and does vocalist Jeff Becerra’s high end growl which sits between what would later come to regarded as the standard for death growls and black metal ‘s harsher rasp. Best of all the quality of the material barely dips.

The band clearly had a big influence on the death metal genre when it kicked in fully as can be heard in the likes of Death, Morbid Angel and Deicide. Even if that were the only reason Seven Churches deserves its place in history. The fact that it’s also one hell of a great album only adds to its importance.

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