Possessed is an American Death Metal band formed in 1983. Among the first ever bands to play in the now (in)famous subgenre, Possessed were one of the heaviest things in the metal underground during their heyday and are considered to have been a key influence on many later extreme metal bands.
Possessed stood out from most other thrash bands of the time 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) had been solidified just in time to record their legendary best-known album, 1985's Seven Churches. At the time of its release, very few others in the world of heavy metal matched it in terms of brutality, heaviness, and aggression. It's frequently cited as one of the very first Death Metal albums.
After touring with bands such as Slayer and Venom, a second album, Beyond the Gates was released in 1986. A touor with Voivod and Deathrow in Europe and Dark Angel in America soon followed. After that, tensions among the band members began bubbling to the surface, and after they recorded and released one last EP (The Eyes of Horror) in 1987, they split up later that year. Various members went on to do different things afterward; notably, Larry LaLonde played in Blind Illusion and then joined Primus, helmed by fellow Blind Illusion member Les Claypool.
Possessed has since re-united twice. In 1990, guitarist Mike Torrao assembled a new lineup which didn't really go anywhere save for recording two demo tapes that before splitting again in 1993. In 2007, Beccera brought Possessed back into action more officially (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 Becerra being paralyzed from the waist down after they split up the first time; he can no longer play bass live, 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.
- Darker and Edgier: At the time of their debut in the mid 80s, they were this in relation to most other Thrash Metal bands and metal bands in general.
- Death Metal: The Trope Namer(sort of) with their song "Death Metal", first from the titular Death Metal demo, and later their first album Seven Churches. Also a major Ur-Example; Possessed showcased many elements of death metal, such as abrasive high-gain 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 ever since he was shot in a botched 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 primary songwriter and 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 before his injury.
- Lighter and Softer: Their material after Seven Churches has a slightly less raw and more melodic quality to it, it's a subtle change.
- Metal Scream: Becerra's vocals are a Type 1, being higher-pitched than the "cookie monster" style normally associated with death metal but still markedly different to a lot of other vocal styles heard in metal at the time.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: As pictured, Seven Churches merely has the band logo and album title against a black background. Some versions of the album only have the band logo.
- Revolving Door Band: Particularly since getting back together. Of the 2007 lineup, only Becerra and drummer Emilio Marquez remain.
- Satan: The subject of 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.