Thursday, 3 May 2012

POSSESSED - Seven Churches (1985)

01  The Exorcist
02  Pentagram
03  Burning In Hell
04  Evil Warriors
05  Seven Churches
06  Satan's Curse
07  Holy Hell
08  Twisted Minds
09  Fallen Angel
10  Death Metal

'Seven Churches' is the debut album by death/thrash metal band Possessed released on October 16th 1985 via Combat Records. The title of the album refers to the Seven Churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

This is one album that has caused a lot of controversy; because nobody is exactly sure what to call it. 'Seven Churches' is believed to be the “first death metal” album ever made. To a certain degree, I can agree with that. I believe that the term "Death Metal" in the early to mid-80s was really just another name for thrash metal that was extremely brutal and raw sounding (e.g. Slayer), also take into consideration that Kreator’s 1985 album 'Pleasure To Kill' was also labelled Death Metal, and how Death Metal itself as a genre did not properly come to fuition until Death’s 'Scream Bloody Gore' was released. Sure, for its time, it could have easily been full-on Death Metal, but in reality it was a group of teens influenced by thrash metal, accidentally laying down the blue-print for more demonic musical developments to come.

It all kicks off with the haunting intro of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" (better known as the theme from William Friedkin's classic horror epic, "The Exorcist") and the song of that same title follows with razor-sharp riffing, Jeff Becerra's glass-gargling screams and growls over Mike Sus' chaotic drumming. Sus' coming from a jazz background, which accounted for his off-kilter style that was atypical of drummers in those days. Among the other highlights, "Pentagram," "Twisted Minds," and "Fallen Angel" have best stood the test of time, offering glimpses of the trends to follow with their surprisingly mature songwriting. They then close the proceedings in ferocious fashion with the appropriately titled "Death Metal."

Possessed followed the release with a supporting tour which included a performance with Slayer and Venom at San Francisco's Kabuki in 1986. On Halloween, 1986, Possessed released their second album, 'Beyond the Gates'. The following May, the band issued a five-song EP titled 'The Eyes of Horror' which marked a change in direction for the band. The Satanic themes they had become noted for were completely absent, and the songs had more of a thrash metal style than their earlier death metal. Shortly after the release of the 'Eyes of Horror' EP, the band disbanded.

*For the extreme lyrics and uses of the word "fuck", the album was one of the first (in 1985) to receive the RIAA's "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics" sticker.

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