Friday, October 1, 2010

Evil Warriors

Possessed is a band that I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for. During my onetime quest to check out records by “legitimately Satanic, dude” metal bands, their Seven Churches album was at the top of my list. It’s doubtful that they actually fit the bill of what I was looking for philosophically, but they sure sounded like they did. That was good enough for me in the end. Possessed resonates with me not because they lived out their lyrical convictions, but because their take on Bay Area thrash metal was so raw and menacing. Bonded by Blood by Exodus is my favorite for sentimental reasons, but Possessed certainly makes a good challenge to that mantle.

A year or two ago, I went with a friend to see the latest incarnation of Possessed at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. The lineup was Jeff Becerra backed by a longtime death metal band called Sadistic Intent. Despite my mixed feelings about the show overall, it was nice to see Jeff Becerra enjoying himself. I think most people know that Jeff is paralyzed from the chest down after being shot in a robbery at a gas station in 1990, dealing a huge blow to the local metal scene. There was an attempt by former Possessed members to carry on the name without him that had little to no impact. Various metal writers claimed that Jeff was born again, blaming his old band’s lyrical content for the shooting that put him in a wheelchair. Whether that was true or not didn’t seem to matter when I saw Jeff belting out classic Possessed songs though. I reminded myself that he’d been through a lot to get to that show and enjoyed it for what it was.

I think I was twenty years old when I finally picked up a copy of
Seven Churches. During that same time, I was also delving (not too deeply) into black metal and Possessed certainly had elements in their sound that were influential on the somewhat newer Norwegian bands I was listening to. Ultimately, they won out over bands like Darkthrone or Emperor because Possessed was a lot more fun to listen to.

Twenty-five years ago this month, Possessed released Seven Churches on an unsuspecting public. Most of you probably already have it, but we also went ahead and included their Death Metal demo from 1984 as a little bonus. Give it a listen.

1 comment:

Christy said...

So THOROUGH. "Legitimately Satanic" vs. "theatrically Satanic" perhaps? Great distinction to make.