The tale of US death metal band Possessed is one of the saddest stories in music history. The band exploded onto the scene back in 1985 with their debut album Seven Churches and quickly followed it up with Beyond The Gates just twelve months later. Just when it looked like their style of death metal mixed with a hint of thrash was going to set them on the path of super stardom tragedy struck. Main man Jeff Becerra was starting to make a name for himself as one of the most talented musicians in the world but then when he was shot during a robbery he became paralysed from the waist down.
That could have been the end of a very tragic story, Possessed could have become one of those bands that were cut down in their prime. After years out in the music wilderness Becerra once again fronted Possessed in 2007 at Wacken, and now just after a decade later the band return with their first album in over thirty years. While the band members around Becerra may have changed it is still the good old fashioned Possessed sound that greets fans on Revelations Of Oblivion.
If old school metal is what you crave then this is an album that you need in your collection. After kicking off with the medivel chants and church bells of ‘Chant Of Oblivion’ the old school sound of Possessed mashing death and thrash together comes straight to the fore on the brilliant ‘No More Room In Hell.’ That sound and Becerra’s brilliance continues to shine on ‘Dominion’ and ‘Damned.’
What hits you as the album goes on is that what Becerra has said about this version is Possessed, these are the best musicians going around that he could find… and the sound that they create together is electric. The double onslaught of guitars from Daniel Gonzalez and Cladeous Creamer come together in a crazy but brilliant way on tracks like ‘Demon’ and ‘Omen’, the latter almost sounding like something that Rammstein would create, while Emilio Marquez’s drumming turns to the brutal side on ‘Ritual’ and ‘The Word’.
Piecing it all together though is Becerra. There is little wonder that so many musicians urged him to return to the stage after his accident because he is truly one of the most talented musicians going around. There seems to be nothing that this man cannot do. From the eerie ghostly vocals on ‘Abandoned’ through to the manic ‘Shadowcult’ that also delivers some of the most poetic and thought-provoking lyrics you will ever hear in a death metal track, this is clearly a musician who deserves to be heard and it is a shame that he has been missing from the spotlight for so long.
On the back of this album and the way it has been received you would assume that Possessed are now back to stay. The great thing is that aside from the talent of the band there is also a great deal of creativity as well. Just go back and take a listen to the closing tracks of this album. First the band goes old school with ‘Graven’ and then delivers the wildnerness driven acoustic track ‘Temple Of Samael.’ Yes it seems that Possessed really are back for good… and they certainly have something to say.