Proto-Metal • United Kingdom
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This is the story of a band whose tragic legacy could never have been predicted. Possessed were born out the thriving underground West Midlands Rock & Blues scene of the mid to late ‘60’s. This was a scene in which band- leader, Vernon Pereira, had been a key figure.The band were formed in late 1969 when Vernon teamed up (after a spell playing next to Robert Plant in The Band Of Joy) with Mick Reeves, who had been playing in (amongst other bands) Sugarstack with Al Atkins. This was the band that would eventually evolve into being the first incarnation of Judas Priest. Exploration was originally intended for releases in 1971. Due to various reasons the album never saw the light of day.The band were finally on the verge of signing a major deal, when tragedy struck. Whilst returning home from a gig in 1976, the bands van drove into read more...
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POSSESSED Exploration album cover 2.36 | 3 ratings
Proto-Metal 2006

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POSSESSED Exploration

Album · 2006 · Proto-Metal
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I will come straight out and admit that I bought this CD mostly for the band’s name. Yes, it sounds lame and foolish. I have spent the last few months scrounging around on YouTube for heavy psych and proto-metal bands that I have never heard of and when I saw that a band called Possessed had existed long before the death/thrash metal band of the 80’s, I knew I had to check it out. Well, at first I wasn’t so thrilled with what I heard on YouTube and on Amazon’s song samples. But compulsion overcame common sense once I saw that this was not an easy album to buy for a reasonable price. I tracked a used copy down that was in good-as-new condition and ordered it.

Possessed, as their bio shows above, were very much a product of the in scene in British music of the late sixties with band members playing alongside the likes of Robert Plant, Al Atkins, and even Ozzy Osbourne, or taking over for Greg Lake in Shy before forming Possessed. Their album was recorded in 1971 and shopped around to record companies but there were no takers. The band soldiered on and kept touring around the U.K. When the punk scene developed, Possessed adapted their sound. Tragically, an early morning road accident killed three of the members in 1976 and the band came to an abrupt end. Interesting to note that Robert Plant and John Bohnam were going to reform Band of Joy for some benefit concerts to help out Vernon Pereira's wife and three kids. There were benefit concerts performed by many groups for the grieving families, but the Band of Joy reunion didn't come to fruit.

The CD is a re-mastering of the tapes used for the album recording sessions. It comes with a booklet detailing the history of the band and includes many photos of members in their previous bands alongside their soon to be famous counterparts.

The music is not metal but hard rock with a tinge of country rock sound in places. It gets a little heavy in the odd moment but never enough to be metal and more often attempts to venture into progressive hard rock territory but never for long. The sound quality is not too bad compared to a lot of these long lost songs that I have heard recently (if only Iron Claw’s really heavy stuff had been given a clean recording) but not as good as a properly mixed album ready for major label distribution. The vocals are perhaps the hardest hurdle to get over as they often sound like shouted falsetto singing. The compositions are good enough but the playing lacks tightness at times. The worst is the acoustic song “Love ‘em and Leave ‘em” where the singer goes out of tune and sounds like an amateur karaoke singer. The acoustic “Exploration II” sounds even worse than the late night fiddling I used to do on my acoustic guitar just to unwind before going to sleep. The rest of the album is electric but there is a lot of similarity between many of the songs.

There are three ways this album could have been improved. First, cut out the crap. Get a decent vocalist and for gosh sake and play the acoustic guitar like a professional. Second, forget the dozen songs of which 10 are barely around three-minutes in length and shave it down to 8 or 9 songs, building longer songs with some of that creative riffing that comes up at the end of some songs as they are about to fade out. Only “Disheartened and Disillusioned” makes any attempt to give us an instrumental passage at some length that could almost be deemed progressive. Third, improve the mixing of the album. The sound is very rough and needs help to be better.

I reckon that this band could have released this very raw album as a debut and then by the second or third album they really could have come up with something special. Am I disappointed with this purchase? No. I knew I had to have it just like I had to have Iron Maiden, that heavy psych band from 69/70. But had the band not been called Possessed (possessed by music, you should know, not the devil) I would have had little interest in them based on the music alone. I do take much more care now ordering other lost and hidden “gems” of the period between ‘68 and ’74 because I can’t afford to be buying expensive CDs of bands that were essentially B-grade rock acts with a bit of fuzz on their guitar sounds.

Recommended to collectors of obscure guitar rock bands of the early 70s.

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