So, letís go back to 1983 when the heaviest band was Venom
and the thrash scene was emerging with bands like Slayer and Overkill. Many bands combined the fierce of venom and the speed of thrash back then, the result was the Florida early death metal scene ( Death and Morbid Angel
) and Californiaís Possessed
Possessed can be considered the band that put the first Death Metal album in the world, although the characteristics arenít exactly the same as the later death metal scene, this album sure was important in the development of Death Metal, adding some blasting drum beats, death grunts, satanic themes, and complex guitar work.
įWhat album is it? Seven Churches
įWho is who:
: He plays bass, an instrument that can barely be heard on the album, the complex of his bass lines arenít great, he only follows the others instruments adding only some distortion to the songs, he also does the vocals, you can notice the big influence of Venom in his vocals.
: Since the beginning of this album, the fast drum beats never end; sure, some of them are very repetitive and they arenít what I call outstanding drumming, but some of the beats especially near the end of the album are a clear call to greatness.
: Possessed was a band that didnít have an established lead guitarist, both Larry and Mike shared the leads and the rhythm. Mike Torrao beats LaLonde in almost any aspect, heís the main brain of the band, he wrote almost all the music and the songs, as for guitar playing he played slightly different from the Thrash bands at that time, he also define the difference between Venom and Possessed.
: Larry is a great guitarist, but back in Possessed he was outshined by the creative mind of Torrao; still, he managed to add his mark on some of the songs. His style is a bit more complex than Torrao; an example of this is the song Seven Churches.
Seven Churches is an album that stops at 39 minutes with 27 seconds, time distributed on 10 tracks.
: Seven Churches
is a non stop blast beat generator, musically itís not challenging or great in a technical point of view, many of the songs follow the same structure and in some occasions it can be repetitive. For the fine ear, many of the songs are different enough one from each other; still, the bad production of this album doesnít help that statement, the bass is almost inexistent and the guitars are blocked by the drums and vocals (this only applies in the fast drum beats). Sure, one important characteristic of the death metal are the predominance of drums, but bands like Death put some effort into the production.
This album, defined not only a major part of Death Metal, it also defined the sound of Possessed itself, ironically this band isnít innovating at all; sure, the sound combination was something new, but the band didnít reinvent themselves in this album.
The lyrical themes are simple and unoriginal, the lyrics can be considered as a low imitation of Mercyful Fate and Venom:
You'll die there's no time to run from hell
You lied the witch has cast her spell
Your sins will be paid for and sacrificed
This is the price - Satan's curse
As you can see, the simplicity and the lack of imagination of the lyrics are screaming their existence on Seven Churches, itís like reading a satanic bible version made by some teenagers; still many of the strophes are good and a bit graphic, making some of the lyrics worth to quote in a conversation of Death Metal history.
As I mentioned before, the drums donít stop and outshines all the instruments, this can be considered something good is the drummer is good and the band isnít something outstanding. In this case, itís a 50-50, Mike Sus is a good drummer, some of his beats are interesting and some of them are off tempo; still the other members of Possessed are worth of listen, some of the best riffs coming from the guitar are outshined by the loud drums.
In a nutshell, Seven Churches is an album that features a great combination of different metal styles, all of them arranged on an unoriginal way.
: Being the first song of the album, and also being one of the best songs isnít a good sign. Anyway, the exorcist can be one of the songs were the guitars and the drums sound equally, the riff mayhem is influenced by thrash is an absolute way, although the song is repetitive, many of the rhythm changes are worth to make an eulogy to them.
: The second song on the album, this song features simple odd time signatures. This song starts with some growls, they make a great effect if it is the first time you hear the album, once the music start you can notice the ďdeath and rollĒ structure in the main verse, the song features also a ďstop and goĒ riffs during the verses.
The fifth and main track of the album, this is one of the few songs that features audible bass lines and they are worth of listen because it gives the song a great groove during the bridges, it is also the only song that features LaLonde as an author, sharing this role with Becerra and Torrao. This song can be considered as the best of the album, it features the best of Possessed in all the aspects.
, Is not that the album is bad, is just that 60% of that album is just pure influence, once you listen this album probably you might think that Possessed needed to add more of their touch instead of just combine different styles.