If you think waiting for the new Tool record to drop has been a long wait, “Revelations Of Oblivion” marks the first full studio length album from San Francisco’s Possessed in 33 years. Dubbed by many as the true Godfathers of death metal (the genre even named after their 1984 demo), the quintet – centred around vocalist Jeff Becerra – have quite rightly achieved legendary status since their inception from their 2 studio albums and one EP. So when a band of such calibre finally releases a brand new album, then this is very big news indeed.
Obviously, after such a long wait, many questions will inevitably arise – how do Possessed sound in 2019? In a saturated death metal scene, will they hold relevance in the genre they helped to define? And most importantly, does the new material match up to the likes of Seven Churches and Beyond The Gates? With the aid of Hypocrisy mainman Peter Tatgren twiddling the knobs, Possessed not only sound relevant to the metal world in 2019 whilst at the same time appealing to fans who yearn for the older, analogue-feeling sound of old, but they sound as mean, lean and extreme than they ever have. Make no mistake, there’s a reason Possessed are so revered, and they’re very eager to make a huge noise in the 21st century.
After the obligatory spooky intro they blast out of the gates raging with “No More Room In Hell” – as typical as a vintage Possessed track you could hope for yet somehow even more extreme, Jeff’s rasping vocals having not changed over the last three decades. Possessed in 2019 is heavy, fast, dynamic and above all, extremely enjoyable. Although the original members have long since left, the merry men now responsible for creating such noise have all slotted in perfectly into the Possessed blueprint, ripping out razor-sharp riffs, frantic leads and Emilio Marquez in particular emulating perfectly the feel of 80’s Possessed with slick tom rolls, pummelling double bass and precision rhythms.
Song wise, they fly by in maelstrom of fury – particular highlights including Demon (with Jeff adopting new vocal techniques), the atmospheric Omen with its galloping main riff and The Word, sure to induce manic pits at festivals the world over.
Like an exasperated parent forced to watch the failings of its offspring, Possessed have churned out a record that may not exactly redefine death metal, but instead shows some of the young pups how it’s done properly. The Godfathers have returned – let’s hope the next album is sooner than 2052!
Possessed – Revelations Of Oblivion is out now via Nuclear Blast.