Album Review: Possessed – “Revelations of Oblivion”

Consuming Impulses

It’s hard to believe that famed guitarist Joe Satriani produced Possessed’s final EP, The Eyes of Horror, 32 years ago. Between then and now, however? A treasure trove of forgotten demos and the inevitability of time. So, here we are, standing in the face of Jeff Becerra’s reconfigured Possessed. Our very important past is looking at us with fangs out and eyes ablaze. The path before us is narrow, the drop to either side precipitous. Judging Possessed now for not continuing landmark effort Seven Churches or riff-fest Beyond the Gates exactly as they sounded in the mid-’80s is plainly idiotic, but not holding Becerra up to past achievements ignores the fact the our entire community is mounted on the very Satanic granite that was “The Exorcist,” “Pentagram,” “Satan’s Curse” and “Seven Churches.”

So, it seems the only way forward is, well, forward, taking Revelations of Oblivion as it is, not as we—disparately—thought it should be. The new Possessed includes Coffin Texts boys Emilio Marquez (drums) and Robert Cardenas (bass), Gruesome’s Daniel Gonzalez (guitar) and From Hell’s Claudeous Creamer (guitar). Together with Becerra, they’ve crafted 12 spirited songs that are, at their core, death metal, and yet likely so much more.

“No More Room in Hell,” “Dominion,” “Demon” and “Shadowcult” are ceaseless rippers. They move at a thrash metal pace, but hammer to the face like death metal. That Becerra’s vocals run the range only adds to the drama. But it’s not all a blur of furnace-hot riffs, drums and anguished vocals. There’s an ample amount of heavy metal in Revelations of Oblivion. Songs like “Omen,” “Ritual” and “The Word” may not employ the high-strung histrionics of classic Priest or Maiden, but their DNA is throughout, hellishly spliced into Possessed’s beastly projection. The mix, by Peter Tägtgren, is also near-perfect. He’s able to get the modern edge out of Possessed while also preserving the magic of Randy Burns. Really, go into Revelations of Oblivion not expecting Possessed of old, but to come out the other end scorched, maligned and crazy for more.

Read the inside story of Possessed incredible comeback in the June 2019 issue of Decibel.