This band gets props from everyone and it isn't surprising, as they essentially invented Death Metal waaaayy back in about 1983. Along with SLAYER and DEATH, POSSESSED are pretty much responsible for the birth of identifiable Death Metal. I suppose it's fate that of the three POSSESSED is the least well-known.
For an album released in 1985, "Seven Churches" sounds remarkably fresh and exciting. This is rough and ferocious stuff, with brutal riffing, insane solos and the snarling vocals of Jeff Becerra, who sounds a lot like Tom Warrior or (not surprisingly) Chuck Schuldiner. He's nowhere near as guttural or brutal as is the standard these days, but he has attitude and conviction, plus you can sometimes make out the lyrics. Every song here is packed with great riffs and aggressive leads that will get your head banging and limber up your air-guitar hand. The drumming is sometimes a little ham-fisted, but I suppose the hyper-tech drumming of bands like ABSU and NILE has spoiled me a bit.
It's hard to pick out favourites here, as all these songs are cool, with song titles like this, it's pretty plain these guys don't go to Sunday school (not without torches anyway). I wonder if this album gets the credit for coining the term 'Death Metal'? I certainly haven't seen a reference older than this album. If anyone has, email me - it would be cool to pin that down.
So this is totally kick-ass Thrashing Death from the good old days and everybody who calls himself a Death Metal fan should have this. Even if it was crap the historical value would be worth it, but this still rules as much today as it did 18 fucking years ago. So rather than waste money on the next Gothenburger clone, try picking up some stuff from way back when that will still whomp you with a knotted plowline. (Online January 1, 2004)