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Metal - Released May 10, 2019 | Nuclear Blast

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Metal - Released April 10, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

Often cited as the first true death metal record ever released (Florida's Death had been around just as long but would only make their vinyl debut a few years later), Possessed's Seven Churches took thrash metal's intensity to new levels of brutality. With song titles like "Burning in Hell," "Satan's Curse," and "The Exorcist" (featuring the famous movie's eerie title theme for an intro), the band definitely displayed a strong Slayer influence; but it was Possessed growler Jeff Becerra who first introduced the barely decipherable grunting vocal style which would epitomize the death metal genre. Among the 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 -- you guessed it -- "Death Metal." In the years that followed, Possessed would continued to improve from a technical perspective, but they never quite equaled the fire of this debut. And though they were gradually overtaken by younger and better bands, for those interested in connecting the dots between thrash and death metal, Seven Churches is the ultimate missing link. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released April 10, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

Never ones to think twice about flirting with supernatural evil forces, San Francisco's Possessed scheduled their second album, Beyond the Gates, to be released on Halloween, 1986! Maybe they should have been a little more wary, as the recording that should have built upon the solid foundation laid down by the previous year's genre-forming debut Seven Churches (still regarded as one of death metal's inaugural cornerstones), wound up coming as a disappointment to most critic and fans alike. Verily, in most every observer's eyes, Beyond the Gates represented an almost indefensible step backwards; transforming a sound previously distinguished for its inexorable power into a ragged, decidedly weaker-kneed replacement. Perhaps the record's feeble production was to blame, although it's hard to lay the blame entirely on experienced producer Carl Canedy in light of his previous triumphs with Anthrax and Overkill. More likely, it was a combination of difficulties: poor funding, rushed recording conditions, questions over musical direction, and simple lack of preparedness (all common problems for starving, under-pressure-to-deliver extreme metal bands) that doused the flames in disappointing efforts like "Tribulation," the title track, and the simply god-awful "The Beasts of the Apocalypse." Occasional bright spots do surface with the focused and forceful "March to Die," the refreshingly elaborate "No Will to Life," and even opener "The Heretic," thanks to its nifty, scary intro. But, taken as a whole, there was no denying that Beyond the Gates packed nowhere near the consistency, inventiveness and, most importantly, eventual influence of its predecessor, signaling the beginning of Possessed's inevitable decline. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released April 10, 2015 | Legacy Recordings