Possessed is an American Death Metal band formed in 1983. Considered by some to be the first ever band to play death metal, Possessed were one of the heaviest things in the metal underground during their hayday and are considered an influence on many later extreme metal bands.
Possessed stuck out from other thrash bands for an extremely dark, pulverizing sound that got them a record deal with Combat Records. The classic Possessed lineup of Jeff Becerra (vocals, bass), Mike Torrao (guitar), Larry LaLonde (guitar) and Mike Sus (drums) hsd been put together by this time and recorded a legendary album, 1985's Seven Churches. It was a less melodic and more brutal album than nearly anything out there at the time; this sound earned it a distinction of being possibly the first death metal album.
After touring with bands such as Slayer and Venom, a second album, Beyond the Gates was released in 1986. Touring with Voivod and Deathrow in Europe and Dark Angel in American soon followed. After that, tensions in the rise were climbing sharply and an EP, The Eyes of Horror (1987) was released. They split up that same year. Following that, Larry LaLonde played in Blind Illusion and later in Primus (helmed by another Blind Illusion member Les Claypool) of all things.
Possessed has since re-united twice. In 1990, Beccera assembled a lineup which didn't really get much of anywhere although two demo tapes were recorded before they split up in 1993. In 2007, Beccera brought Possessed back into action (at first using members of Sadistic Intent on instruments) and they have performed regularly since. In October 2014, the band posted on Facebook that they were writing new material. Revelations of Oblivion, their first release in over thirty years, was released on May 10, 2019.
Possessed by evil tropes:
- Career-Ending Injury: Downplayed with Beccera being paralyzed from the waist down after they split up the first time; he can no longer play instuments, but he still does vocal duties for the band.
- Cover Version: Not themselves, but they are a somewhat popular band of choice for covers, with Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, Marduk, Vader, Exhumed and other big names doing takes on Possessed songs.
- Death Metal: Trope Namer (with their song "Death Metal", first from the titular Death Metal demo, and later their first album Seven Churches) and Ur-Example; Possessed showcased many elements of death metal, such as extremely harsh guitar tones, prominent use of tremolo picking, and Harsh Vocals. Trope Maker Death and defining bands Morbid Angel and Deicide would expand on these traits and add several more to help separate the genre from Thrash Metal for good and ultimately give rise to death metal as its own distinct genre.
- Handicapped Badass: Jeff Becerra has been paralyzed from the waist down since being shot in a robbery in 1989. In spite of his disability, he continues to tour and record today.
- Harsh Vocals: Jeff Becerra is an early example of the deep, guttural vocal style later Death Metal bands would go even deeper in.
- Heavy Meta: "Death Metal".
- I Am the Band: Jeff Becerra is the only member from the band's original formation left.
- Instrumentals: The intro track and "Dog Fight" from Beyond the Gates.
- Lead Bassist: Jeff was originally a Type B.
- Lighter and Softer: Their material after Seven Churches, but not always highly noticeable.
- Metal Scream: Becerra's vocals are a Type 1, in contrast to the Type 2 usually associated with death metal.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: Seven Churches merely has the band logo and album title against a black background. Some versions of the album only have the band logo.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally hovers around a hard 9.
- Revolving Door Band: Particularly since getting back together. Of the 2007 lineup, only Becerra and drummer Emilio Marquez remain.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus! / Satan: Much of their lyrical content, especially on Seven Churches.
- Teen Genius: They were all teenagers when Seven Churches was tracked (and recorded the entire album over spring break), and both Becerra and LaLonde were seniors in high school when they played to a festival crowd of over 7,000 people in Montreal later that year.
- Thrash Metal: Their sound was still heavily rooted in this genre, far more than that of later death metal bands.
- Title-Only Chorus: "Death Metal".
- Title Track: On their first three main releases. The comeback album Revelations of Oblivion doesn't have one though.